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Return to Life

Pablo Atchugarry, 2015 (Uruguay)

Olive wood

“We had a great time as Pablo walked us around his sculpture garden. Then I saw his olive tree work. I love olive wood. In fact, I have a small crop of olive trees at home that produce the tiniest of olives. The tree seeds were given to me by a sea captain in Greece more than 20 years ago. Pablo saw my reaction to the olive wood and said, ‘I can make something for you.’ And that was the first piece we commissioned—Return to Life.

“Have you ever bought something only to get it home and realize it doesn’t quite fit?

“Well, I got back to New Hampshire and realized that Return to Life could not live outside as I hoped. It would need to be inside and we would need to fit it through the doors. So, Pablo’s great crew came from New York. They measure the piece. They measured the door. We looked at each other and it seemed to all of us it was unlikely to fit. Then, one crew member said, ‘We got a plan … though we aren’t sure it will work.’

“Then they put the tree on its side—not touching the ground …and so slowly…really slowly… meticulously… carefully… they begin to pull it through the door, almost like a birthing. It made it! With a 1/8th of an inch to spare! When it got inside—I just started to cry. Thanks to the crew for their smarts and patience.”
–Harriet Lewis

This piece is part of the collection at Alnoba. See the full collection or check our upcoming tour schedule.