Hydraulic system
220 x 280 x 450 cm
Edition of 1

GREENHORN is the first work in a new series of James Capper’s Material Handling division, so called because of the way in which the machinery interacts with the environment. When activated, this hydraulic machine collects fallen trees from the surrounding woodland and re-positions them in precise formations on the ground. Partially inspired by the Land artists’ use of earth-moving equipment to create sculpture deriving from the landscape, the machine effectively builds an ‘installation’ out of the natural elements in its surrounding environment.

In beautifying the woodland, GREENHORN both considers and acts to minimise, the destructive impact of tree felling. Instead of sets of mark-making ‘teeth’ that are familiar features in Capper’s other divisions, GREENHORN incorporates pads and canoes specifically designed to avoid inflicting damage upon the forest floor. As opposed to registering its movements, Capper uses the machine’s functionality to effect change within the landscape.


About The Artist

Interested in the aesthetics of mechanical power and hydraulics, James Capper's works respond to their environments by rolling, digging, climbing, drawing, lifting and cutting. To do so, they are often equipped with unique ‘marking’ components that are described by the artist as ‘tread pads’ or ‘teeth’. His works are separated into divisions, which he describes as constantly expanding ‘family trees’– from Earth Marking to Off Shore; from Carving Tools to the new Material Handling work. Capper is influenced by the Land art movement that originated in 1970s America, in which figures such as Robert Smithson made frequent use of machinery to facilitate their use of the natural landscape to create sculptures. Capper’s work similarly ascribes to the abandonment of formalism, rules and traditional art materials, as espoused by the Land artists, elevating his industrial materials and enabling their transcendence from solely functional objects. He also derives inspiration from the early developments of engineering, particularly the work of the prolific inventor Robert Gilmour Le Tourneau, who developed a number of experimental problem-solving, earth-moving machines, some of which were used during World War II. Capper’s machines have specific, functional uses, but the tangible impact they have on the environment also engages with essential questions concerning the relationship between the natural world, art and technology.

‘GREENHORN’ is currently on display

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Visiting Information

James Capper

Born: 1987

Other Artworks by James Capper at CASS



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