Collaboration with Svetlana Kondakova      

Sculpture commissioned by Edinburgh Napier University to form part of their new Fountainbridge halls of residence development, 2013.

The idea stems from research into the earliest origins of the Fountainbridge area, predating the industrial boom of the 19th century to a time when the area was still on the outskirts of Edinburgh. Between the twelfth and fifteenth century the areas of Tollcross and Fountainbridge were located outside of the City of Edinburgh and were Royal Orchards, where a variety of fruits and vegetables, including apples, cherries and pears, were grown. This tradition carried on in Fountainbridge well into the 18th Century, during which time the area was a large Nursery Garden.

Tree of Knowledge's shape is based on the Great Yew at Broich, a Scottish heritage tree near Kippen, Stirlingshire. It was planted in the twelfth century and has been used as a landmark for centuries. By taking the shape of the yew, the sculpture uses the idea of a tree as a local meeting place, as well as commemorating the origins of the area and the first industries to take place on the land. In order to emphasise the role of the sculpture as a meeting place, the front branch has been lowered, widened and supported, thereby turning it into a bench and a place for reflection.

The sculpture was created by welding together locally sourced metal pipes in a variety of shapes and sizes, each piece shaped individually in order to achieve the organic appearance of a real tree. Holes have been drilled in the pipes and some have been left open in order utilise the Scottish weather and catch the wind, resulting in a sculpture with its own atmospheric soundscape.

Below the tree lies a single apple, bringing to mind the tale of Newton, who was hit by an apple whilst sitting under a tree, causing him to invent the theory of gravity, as well as referencing the origins of the area as orchards. The apple has been cast from bronze and copper and left to weather green, slowly blending in with its environment and matching the green of the new accommodation buildings as well as the copper green of several of Edinburgh's important buildings such as The Usher Hall.

The sculpture was constructed at Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop and measures 3m x 5.6m x 5.8. The creative team provided opportunities for emerging artists and students to work on the sculpture construction and to gain invaluable experience of working in a professional art environment.