David Nash

(Esher, Surrey, 1945)

Three Sun Vessels for Huesca, 2005

Three Sun Vessels for Huesca, 2005
Three oak vessels (430 x 90 cm)
and bronze wind rose (120 cm in diameter)
Hermitage of Santa Lucía, Berdún, Huesca


Curator: Fernando Castro Flórez
Technical development for the project: José Miguel Ferrando

Video 30″:  http://youtu.be/lpS0xMDcHoM

David Nash Catalogue: David Nash. Texts by Javier Maderuelo, Fernando Castro and David Nash. Diputación de Huesca, 2005.

David Nash is one of the founders of the land art movement in Great Britain, and his prodigious output has focused mainly on works in wood. The artist lives and has his studio in an old church in Wales, in the midst of natural surroundings that provide the essential framework for his work. Nash has followed a trajectory that has taken him from direct intervention in the territory to an approach that treats each piece as a ‘living sculpture’, conceived and created on top of the process of flowering, decomposition, cutting down, erosion and carbonisation of large trees such as oaks, yews and sequoias. He researches the morphology of each tree species, the natural characteristics of its wood, and the mutations produced in it by man. Nash’s wooden sculptures are created in a way that maintains the harmony between the material and elements involved, and their origin and final location. These are the basic points that define and determine Nash’s prolific output, represented by works in museums in the United States, Europe and Asia.

‘Vessel’ is an ambiguous word that may refer to a container, either static or dynamic, to keep things in, or a craft in which to cross a river or sea. Evoking such diverse images as Chinese ceramics and fleets of ships, the tail of a fish, eels or the flame of a candle, the vessel convey the lightness of their presence and a striking elegance. The sculptures bear a certain formal relationship to Brancusi’s Bird in Space (1925), with their allegorical rendering of flight, though in some of Nash’s works it is the solid base, the terrestrial element, which is the focal point. …Nash has developed a work entitled Three Sun Vessels for Huesca. Rather than a sundial, the work can be seen as an observatory, a gnomon that allows for observation of the solstices, the equinoctial changes and, most importantly, that marks the place where it stands. Nash takes into account the ceremonial dimension of the place where the ‘sun vessels’ are installed, at the site of the Santa Lucía hermitage, to which a view of another dimension of time has now been added.

Fernando Castro. David Nash. Vessels. Diputación de Huesca, 2005, p. 19.


Passing a big gum tree on a dirt road in Australia I noticed a scar the size and shape of a boat, sharp end downwards – the image of an arrival. It felt like an idea arriving to take form, a vessel shaped space with direction from above to below – above being here. This sense of ascent and descent through the vertical has been a recurring theme in my work since the towers and columns I made in the late sixties. The vessel image in the gum tree rekindled this interest. I later discovered that the boat scar was in fact just that: a native Australian had cut the outline of a boat and carefully removed the bark in one piece, stitched it into a boat and gone fishing. Such scars occur all over Australia.

David Nash dans Marina Warner: David Nash. Forms into Time, Academy Editions, 1996, p 30.










How to get to Three Sun Vessels for Huesca:

Coordinates: Latitude 42º 36’ 41,49’’ N. Longitude 0º 53’ 50,24’’ W