While travelling through Hungary, Peter Pilz sees how somebody tears out aged apple trees with a tractor and heavy iron chains. There they are lying, gnarled old fellows, their tangled roots reaching heavenward as if in complaint. PP makes a sudden decision to buy the apple trees, loads all of them onto a truck, drives to Eisenberg in Burgenland and has the trees sawn into planks, all the same length and size, that he uses to build a house of apple tree wood on a meadow.
First he had to have a cement foundation poured – a smooth surface is absolutely necessary. At the same time PP glues together a model of the house in the ratio of 1:10 made of small pieces of wood.
This showed the differences between the horizontal and vertical lines. This structure comprises the model as well as the final structure. This element is fundamental. A further element is that of stacking. One has to feast one’s eyes on the piles of wood in front of homes (fuel supply for winter). When it is simply piled up, wood produces structure and rhythm, even the shadows create patterns, suggesting a bizarre print. PP takes over the stacking, even though the billets with their similar measurements which is far less important than the fact that no tool will be used for stacking.
PP works without a plumb-line, T-square or string, he uses no measuring tape, no hammer, not a single nail and definitely not a pantograph, caliper or pocket calculator. He stacks one layer upon the next, using only his eyes for quality control. Should anything come out of balance, he would have to take it away then begin stacking anew: one layer of normal cut wood, then one layer of face wood.
The apple tree wood cube can be entered. PP built an entrance but no room within can open. It is certainly a kind of shelter but without any space to move about. Just as plain PP framed 3 apertures through which one can look outward from the cube. They are not actual windows. Rather, they are like the entrance, “quiet throughways” that clearly define the cube as a sculpture.
Imagine seeking shelter in this protective cube, if you were caught in a sudden rain- or snowstorm: inhale the aroma of the wood; listen to the sound of falling raindrops on the wood – is there another purpose here or does the cube have no purpose at all? Its plain beauty reminds one of the Shaker architecture in America. It recalls simplicity of form far from the frivolous design chic of fashion. Unadorned and ascetic, the cube appears as a work of minimalism. A simple system, where stacking produces line leading versus the rhythm of the wood’s joint. This adds to the cube a completely different kind of outer dress. It strips away all puritanical dogma and awards a certain lightness such as is found in the captivating and successful long-distance communion among bushes, trees and grassland.
Thomas Hornemann / Berlin 2010