When taking a walk through the woods in Scotland near David Marshall Lodge, you may suddenly run into what seems like an invisible wall. It would actually be a reflection of the landscape off of one of six mirrored figures that are placed throughout the woods.
In 2009, artist Rob Mulholland created this installation piece. It’s called Vestige, and combines multiple themes of history, memory, and the relationship between humans and nature.
On his site, Mulholland explains “I wanted to explore this relationship further by creating a group, a community within the protective elements of the woods, reflecting the past inhabitants of the space”
He choose an incredible area. Before World War I, it was farm land and home to small communities. After the war the residents were relocated by the government, who then used the land to plant fast-growing trees to restore the country’s timber reserves. While the area is still forested, the remains of the villages and the homes within still linger.
The figures have a double meaning. They represent the people who once lived on the land, but also how humans can drastically alter nature.
Mulholland describes the six figures as representing “a faint trace of the past people and communities that once occupied and lived in this space.” He goes on to explain. “The figures absorb their environment, reflecting in their surface the daily changes of life in the forest. They create a visual notion of non-space, a void, as if they are at one moment part of our world and then, as they fade into the forest, they become an intangible outline.”
The installation goes one step further by involving the viewers. When you approach the figures, you see yourself. You then become part of the piece as the present looks into the past and sees where it comes from.
Vestige wasn’t originally intended as such, but hikers liked it so much that it’s become a permanent exhibit. Mulholland has continued to create new works – you can see more on his website and Facebook.