ephemeral art in Catalan forest

Artist Spencer Byles is Spending a Year in a Catalan Forest

If you plan on taking a hike in Catalonia’s forests any time soon, you might stumble upon enchanting sculptures integrated into the natural surroundings. These ephemeral artworks are crafted by the elusive artist Spencer Byles, who is currently spending a year creating in Catalonia. His sculptures gracefully blend with the landscape, offering a moment of wonder to anyone fortunate enough to chance upon them.

For over 15 years, Spencer Byles has dedicated his life to creating enigmatic sculptures using natural and found materials. His artistic journey takes him to remote forests and jungles across the globe, in places such as France, Belgium, Japan and Borneo. He immerses himself in the beauty of natural landscapes to bring his vision to life.

“My sculptures reflect an affiliation between the materials, the space in which I work, my intuition, and local influences,” Byles shares. Indeed, each sculpture is meticulously crafted in harmony with its environment, as if an extension of the surrounding nature itself. Byles’ artistic process is intuitive. This allows his creations to evolve organically in response to the elements and energies of the forest.

ephemeral art in catalan forest
Photo credit: Spencer Byles

Unlike traditional art installations, Byles’ sculptures are meant to undergo gradual transformation until they eventually return to the earth from which they came. This temporary nature is intrinsic to his projects, mirroring the ever-changing cycle of the natural world.

“I prefer not to share my thoughts regarding what each sculpture represents to me,” Byles explains. “It’s up to the viewer to interpret and derive meaning from what they see.” This open-ended approach invites observers to engage with the artwork on a personal level, fostering a deeper connection between the viewer and the natural world.

The allure of Byles’ sculptures lies not only in their artistic beauty but also in their elusive nature. Situated in remote sections of the woodland, his creations are naturally camouflaged against the forest backdrop, usually discovered by chance rather than design. This element of serendipity adds to their mystique, inviting adventurous souls to embark on a journey of discovery through the wilderness.

ephemeral art in catalan forest
Photo credit: Spencer Byles

“Their hidden quality is integral to this aspect of my work,” Byles remarks. Indeed, the transient nature of his sculptures serves as a poignant reminder of the fleeting beauty found in the world around us. As the seasons change and time takes its course, each sculpture gracefully surrenders to nature, leaving behind memories of its existence.

Byles chooses not to disclose the exact locations of his sculptures. Their echo resonates through word of mouth, captivating the imaginations of those who encounter them. In a world dominated by permanence, his ephemeral art serves as a gentle reminder of the impermanence of all things and the enduring beauty found in the cycle of creation and decay.

As Spencer Byles embarks on his latest artistic endeavor in the Catalan forests, his sculptures stand as silent guardians of the wilderness. They beckon travelers to pause, reflect, and marvel at the magic of the forest.

Have you found any of Spencer’s sculptures? If so, tell us about your experience in the comments!

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