Emily Reese talks to Eric Lindveit in his studio.
The industrial metal door outside this third floor studio space gives no hint of the tree-like panels that line the interior. These surfaces initially appear to be bark, but Eric Lindveit brings attention to the surfaces of all living beings through his work. Be it humans, trees, or animals, the concept of “skin” exists for all. He takes this skill in engineering and applies it to exhibition construction and problem solving.
56 Bogart (56B): Hi Eric. To begin, would you mind giving an overview of your work?
Eric Lindveit (EL): Lately I’ve been thinking more and more about skin conditions. Abnormalities, evidence of disease, and other sorts of conditions in the natural world can also be really beautiful and interesting on architectural and structural levels. I’m working on a bunch of small stuff now and am attracted to things that run the line between repulsion and attraction. It’s not so much about Sylvan architecture but rather that of “tree” as it relates to “human”.
56B: When did you realize Sylvan materials were the best materials to manifest your ideas about the human condition?
EL: The surfaces and shapes themselves are very sympathetic to my aesthetic to begin with. I’ve thought about a lot of other convex forms over the years, and while this style isn’t something I saw myself getting into ahead of time I still look back and accept that this is what I’m doing now. Not that this is an end by any means, but it is a current investigation. It keeps growing in complexity in terms of the “how”, the “why”, and the materials. They’re so rich!
56B: I recently saw a project by German artist Bartholomaus Traubeck in which he engineered a record player to convert trees’ rings, and thus their lifespans, into audio. The melodies are both haunting and beautiful. How is it that we can so easily take these characteristics of trees and incorporate them into the more imaginative human realms of art and music?
EL: If you think about the terminology that we use for trees (and I don’t necessarily think about trees per se while I’m working), they do similarly have limbs etc. For example, it is hysterical to think about a pruned object like a tree in somebody’s home or in somebody’s space. That kind of thing makes me laugh…but it is also missing a phantom limb. This leads you to think about artificial limbs, early epidermis, and things that definitely relate to war reconstruction, the human body, how it can be modified, and skin conditions.
56B: My colleague Rachel mentioned that you also work extensively with museums, construction, and art handling when you’re not in 56 Bogart.
EL: Yes, I do build exhibits for museums. I work with Random Exhibit Services - we just re-did most of the galleries at the South Street Seaport and their commercial space. We also did the show “The Greatest Grid” at the Museum of the City of New York and did the three shows up currently at the Museum of Arts and Design. Almost everybody I work with is an artist at some level, but it’s a different problem-solving set to deal dimensionally with exhibit space, designers, and architects. I also do this so I don’t have to think about the commercial side of my art.
56B: It’s neat that you’re able to exist on two separate sides of the art market simultaneously and be an equal player in both.
EL: I like living this way. I’ve got a young daughter - 13 months - and I don’t want to burden her with the legacy of a warehouse of really interesting stuff, but what do you do with it?