"Strange trees!"

by Louis Porquet, in "Affiches de Normandie" of July 13th 2005.

The fabric, the man and the child tree - 2005

Of Philippe Aïni, we mostly knew the bodies and faces. And now he goes for arboriculture. With this new edition of the Viva Cité festival, he delivers to Sotteville (France) some unique and rare species like "The pop-lar", "The bird-tree", "The tear maker" or "The scorched", not to forget his famous "Tits tree", provided with strange pink tubers which doesn't need to be described here.

Recognized as a raw art phenomenon and a earthy character, Philippe Aïni has develloped, for the last monthes, a strange affection for trees, those creatures only asking to breathe quietly.

Amusing and somewhat crazy idea to have strange timber species growing in the very heart of his workshop in Oissel (France). The reinforcement of those trees is of stainless steel that the artist covers with fireproof tissue. He does not forget either his old leitmotiv: "Stuffing, not war!" ripping out old mattresses to transform their content in outside artworks. After his very erotic dresses, Aïni gave birth to a real little park composed of odd and unexpected species, like the "drip &aamp; drip" also known as the "tits tree" (sic), "the chewing gum tree" (prohibited in chools excepted the one where Aïni lives), "the scorched", a 6 meters high giant, "the baob-tree", "the mangrove" and all kind of hybrids where legs, arms and heads replace traditional branches. Even the most eccentric "doctor" hadn't think of those. What an attraction would this have been for tentacular mega-cities leisure parks!

The bush - 2005 - © JL Weber

As provocative as ever, but, let's face it, with a great imagination, Aïni once again shocks the visitor, trying to make him think about the vains human enterprises. After Luxembourg, Paris Belgium, he is expected in Pragueand in Alabama, in the "Deep South". Maybe will he plant a "peace tree" there, charged with black and white fruits?