'Wood Line' – San Francisco, California - Atlas Obscura

The woods that cover San Francisco’s Presidio are only a little over a century old, planted in the late 19th century by the U.S. Army. In 2011, Scottish artist Andy Goldsworthy made a new intervention on this now thriving woodland — an atmospheric secret path through its trees.

Wood Line is a snaking sculptural installation of eucalyptus trunks and branches, covertly following Lover’s Lane, the oldest footpath in the Presidio. This eucalyptus grove planted decades ago was once infiltrated by Monterey cypress trees, which later died out (possibly due to the allelopathic properties of large amounts of eucalyptus trees and their leaf litter), leaving a void in the woods.

Goldsworthy filled this void with his own fallen trees, rescued from construction in the Presidio, referencing the life cycle of nature. He described Wood Line as something that “draws the place,” and like much of his earthwork that incorporates natural materials from the landscape around it, this is meant to decay over time. Walking the shaded curves and turns of Wood Line takes you up and down a slope, where the line that divides art and nature is never quite clear.

This installation presented through the Presidio Trust and FOR-SITE Foundation follows Goldsworthy’s nearby Spire sculpture from 2008 that stands tall with its salvaged wood, along with the 2013 Tree Fall and 2014 Earth Wall.

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