Fiona Hall’s installation Out of my tree, constructed for the 2014 Adelaide Biennial, uses painting, sculpture and video to explore our tenuous relationship with the environment. In this installation, the call of the cuckoo heralds environmental doom, while plinths made ostensibly from de-accessioned books – that were once trees – hold objects including a human skull meticulously crafted from sardine tins.

Hall’s use of the skull as a recurring motif in this installation links her to the European vanitas tradition, where the skull becomes an emblem of our fleeting existence. Hall extends this symbolism to critique human abuse of nature and warn of its implications.

Out of my tree will form the kernel of Fiona Hall’s installation for the Venice Biennale, at which she will represent Australia in 2015.

There is no contemporary Australian artist to compete with Fiona Hall in the transformation of objects into profound aesthetic reflections on the value, faith and meaning we invest in material things
Ross Woodrow

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Fiona Hall, Out of my tree, 2013, mixed media installation, dimensions variable, © Fiona Hall. Courtesy the artist and Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney, photo: Clayton Glen