Josua Wechsler - Welcome, Nature

The discussion of nature seems to be getting more and more important these days. We must become aware of the impact that we, as humans, have on the environment. On the one hand, we no longer seem to be able to ignore discussions such as sustainability and climate change. On the other hand, it appears that young people are spending less and less time in nature. But to what extent is that image correct? As Green Trainees we started the project ‘Lighten up your landscape’. We spoke with different people from the area of Van Gogh National Park. All had very interesting ideas and ansers to questions like; what does connection to nature mean exactly? Why does is seem important? And can that connection look different for different people?

In previous conversations, we have already gained a new insight into the question of what nature is and why a connection with nature can be meaningful. Now, we speak with Josua Wechsler, an artist specialized in sculpting. His artworks are a mix of nature, artificiality, and technique. During the conversation, he shared his ideas about what connectivity to nature could look like and gave us the inspiration to look at the nature around us in a different way.

Josua, is an artist from Switzerland who currently lives in the Netherlands. He has a passion for combining nature and human experience through art. His daily life is closely connected with nature. He once spent a month alone, living in a cave, going back to nature and listening to the voice of the landscape, observing nature on his own. He wanted to slow down the pace of life, learning how to get along with nature and talking from the heart. He even decided not to shine a light in the dark, because it would disturb nature. He also didn’t want to create any work during this period, he just wanted to observe. “My work is closely related to nature, and it is easier for me to get inspired by it, when I’m actually staying in the nature. Thank you for letting me be your guest.”

We received a warm welcome on a very cold day. We joked that his house was almost as remote as the cave he stayed in for a month. In reality, we’re just not all used to the expanse of the countryside. It was a beautiful, old, characterful home, with a large garden. The contrast between the old and the new of his art works was astounding. In every nook and cranny of the garden was a new part to explore, and to find more art. And all of it looked organic, though mostly made with materials such as metal. The iron fern that was twice the size of person made you feel small, the almost realistic but a little uncanny houseplant made you take a second look, the hollowed-out trunk made you think about trees differently. 

The life of a modern human is mixed with many artificial elements, and every act might contain artifacts. However, Josua's artworks combine artificial materials and natural elements. The raw material is not that impactful, the transformation also shows what humans do to the nature. It brings out the fact that humans and nature do not exist independently. Humans cannot be independent of nature and are always a part of nature.