Simultaneously strong and easy to carve, pine offers some of the most versatile characteristics in the world of wood, and this series of incredible sculptures puts that fact to a visual test. Brussels-based artist Xavier Puente Vilardell uses mostly manual tools to manipulate pine trunks into surreal sculptures highlighting the pliability of the material, almost as if you could twist it into a new shape with your bare hands.
Vilardell allows the natural contours of the wood to provide inspiration, guiding him in how each trunk should be cut and shaped. Spirals and corkscrews follow the pattern of tree ring growth, knots become highlights and smaller branches turn into protrusions of various shapes.
The artist seems to take particular pleasure in the visceral aspects of carving with pine, enjoying its “strong and penetrating odor that takes root in the land.”
“Working with wood requires a deep respect for the living, it must understand its inner nature and characteristics that give a certain personality.” Villardell likens the process to a writer creating a character with their own life, flaws and virtues, experiences, nuances and peculiarities.