Lawn art, Ralf Witthaus

Lawn art, Ralf Witthaus

Ralf Witthaus is a graphic artist. But instead of a sheet of paper, he uses areas of grass and lawn for his work. Using lawn mowers and clearing saws, Witthaus strips the grass down to the turf to produce his drawing. Rather than lasting for ever, his art is ephemeral, as the lawn grows back again.

This is unique in the history of art. The transfer from the sketch to the monumental work opens up a whole host of different dimensions: the work of art becomes a sculpture, reminiscent of Minimal Art and Land Art. At the same time, it's art in a public space, with the participation of passers-by turning it into a walk-in environment.

One way the artist deals with the highly labor-intensive nature of the project, which is executed as a performance in the public arena, is through his clothing: Witthaus and his team go about in dark-colored suits, the epitome of people formally dressed for work. At the same time, Ralf Witthaus elevates everyday implements like lawn mowers and brushcutters to the status of ‘art tools'. STIHL equips Witthaus with the power tools needed for his projects.

His biggest project to date has been the International Lawn Show. Last autumn Ralf Witthaus and his team mowed two boreholes, one in East Westphalia-Lippe and the other in New Zealand. Typical landscapes of the ‘other side' were created on the grass in each borehole. Witthaus used our powerful cordless brushcutter, the FSA 85.

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