The “Suspended Forest” Breathes New Life Into Old Christmas Trees
This January, the holiday spirit is still in the air– literally. At the Knockdown Center in Queen, artist Michael Neff’s Suspended Forest has given new life to forty Christmas trees, which occupy the space in an orderly grid of eight by five. The trees hang from the ceiling on twine, evenly spaced for you to slip in between them and take in the scent of pine, which perfumes the air even as the needles have started to dry. On the floor, needles and branches have accumulated into “an echo” of the tree above. There is a strange contrast between the stillness of the trees– dead, no longer attached to their roots, far from the earth– and their sensitivity to touch: even the most delicate brush sends them spinning around themselves.
Christmas trees are often seen in extremes: either in great masses–piled against one another as they wait to be bought and taken home; or completely alone– decorated and revered in living rooms and lobbies. Here each is distinct while it hangs in the company of others, elevated almost a foot from the floor.
The trees themselves were those not sold at Christmas time. Each seems perfect, however– among them there are no crooked trunks or sparse branches; there is no reason why they should not have sheltered Christmas presents through December. Though they vary in shape and color, each seems to embody the Platonic ideal of what a Christmas tree should look like. Excluded from the holiday, they have found a new purpose.
Suspended Forest is open through January 31st, Saturdays and Sundays, from 2 to 6 PM. The Knockdown Center is located at 52-19 Flushing Ave, Maspeth, NY 11378 and is accessible via the L train.