South African artist Daniel Popper is expanding his collection of sculptures at The Morton Arboretum. His Human+Nature exhibition has been on display at the 1,700-acre arboretum since 2021 and will remain on view until 2023. Already his largest-ever exhibition when it opened, Popper has added three more sculptures, which brings the total works up to eight.
The three new sculptures are a continuation of Popper's goal to inspire awe as they connect people and trees. It's a noble proposition that follows The Morton Arboretum's work in helping trees thrive and in educating the public about their importance. And it's fitting that the sculptures should arrive in 2022, which is the arboretum's centennial. In fact, the smallest of Popper's three new sculptures was created to celebrate this special occasion.
That sculpture, titled Ginkgo, will live outside the visitor's center and is a beautiful greeting for guests. In the piece, the masklike face of a woman is framed by ginkgo leaves in a beautiful representation of the variety of trees that are found on the property. Given founder Jay Morton's fondness for this noble tree, it's only fitting that it should be used in the sculpture that celebrates the arboretum's longevity. Many ginkgo trees have been planted on the grounds and, currently, there are 15 cultivars and 77 specimens in the collection.
Popper's other works, Mycelia and Ephemera celebrate other fungi and plant life that guests can discover during their visit. In this way, he allows us to ruminate on the interconnectedness of the natural world and our role within it. Ephemera is located in a meadow, while Mycelia sprouts up in a secluded wooded area. This positioning only enhances the meaning of the work, and creates a sense of a treasure hunt as one searches the grounds for Popper's work.
Popper's enhanced version of Human+Nature is just one of many reasons to visit The Morton Arboretum, which is located outside of Chicago. The eight pieces will remain on view until March 2023.