jesus in wonderland
American Desert is empty enough to let the bizarre simply pop up. Not only because of conceptual landscape artists from past decades, but rather because of informal interventions achieved by normal citizens, connected to the international phenomena of Marginal Extravagant Sculptural Architectures [Arquiesculturas Margivagantes]
“Leonard Knight tried to sew his own hot air balloon for 14 years to spread the message of God’s love but it just wouldn’t fly. So he started building a mountain instead. His Salvation Mountain is a mass of adobe, hay bales and wood structures encrusted with paint in the desert near Niland, California. It is located in or on the outskirts of an abandoned military compound that has become a haven for RV squatters and dubbed Slab City.There is a palpable sense of anarchy about the whole area.” [meathaus]
He reinterprets local Navajo vernacular construction techniques, mixing them with his own fantastic perspective. But still, it is remarkably interesting that this God’s paradise built on earth is a mountain of recycled waste and over 100,000 gallons of paint. Invented trees are created out of used tyres and flowers out of chemical pigments. A Noah’s Ark altered version from 21st century: instead of collecting all animal species to overcome a world catastrophe, it is as if the catastrophe had already happened and extinguished species needed to be recreated out of memories and rubble.
Salvation Mountain is alive and growing. Wind, rain, visitors and sun are constantly modifying it, so patches and repaints deal with its erosion by reshaping its appearance.