In recent years, the theme of the tree, which I perceive as a symbol, a link between heaven and earth, has often appeared in my work. Like all faiths, its roots are hidden deep and firm in the earth, but its crown touches the heavens. It is a fundamental archetype in many of the world's mythologies, religious and philosophical traditions. It combines all four elements and the cycle of life. I use multiple morphologies and approaches when working with this symbol. In the object TREE IN THE BOX, for which it was a major
inspiration from a visit to Schonbrunn in Vienna, it is a disturbance and radical intervention into a perfect beautiful natural form, where humans forcibly modify wild nature in their own image and suppress its essential nature.

The objects URBANTREE I and II were created in 2017 as a loose continuation of the great realization Tree of Knowledge. These are idealized, transformed treetops, nature that man, consciously or unconsciously, beautifies to his own imagination and needs, often at the cost of denying its own original meaning. A moment when human urbanism has almost triumphed over organic matter.

My goal was to create an object in an ideal scale to the human figure. Although the spatially very bulky object URBANTREE I. occupies a large space, at first glance it looks rather subtly like a drawing in space, captured in the moment. As the lighting conditions change, so does the shadow under the sculpture, creating ever new sketches and patterns in the surroundings. It is essential how the sculpture as a whole works, but it must also work from the immediate vicinity; the essence of art and mastered craft is in the detail. The biggest challenge was figuring out how to cast a sculpture of this size, how to make it, how to realize the wax model, how to make the sprue system, in what segments and at what temperature to distort the crystalline lattice in the aluminum castings so that they could be bent, welded together, shaped, sanded and finally made into a tree crown.


Ondřej Oliva


Ondřej Oliva completed studies at the Secondary School of Applied Art in Uherské Hradiště (ak. soch.
Zdeněk Tománek). Later on, he studied at Zlínská soukromá vyšší odborná škola umění, o.p.s. (ak. soch. Radim Hanke); in 2005 – 2010, he studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague, the Studio of
Sculpture I. with Jaroslav Róna. In 2009, he won 2nd place for the design of a fountain for the town
of Černošice. In 2015, he won 1st place for the design of a fountain “Meeting Place“ for the town of
Uherský Brod, which was subsequently implemented. 2016 saw an exposure of the four-meter piece
“Tree of Knowledge” and in 2017 he designed a grave for a legendary footballer Josef Masopust at Vyšehrad cemetery. He is represented in collections in the Czech Republic and abroad, including the National Gallery in Prague since March 2012. In his works, he tries to create visually interesting objects that are readable in terms of their shapes even for ordinary viewers. This is also the reason
why the topics that he chooses are based on everyday objects and things around us. Everyone can
simply put them in their own experience and standards.

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