Five Seasons - The Gardens of Piet Oudolf
Dutch garden designer and landscape architect Piet Oudolf, famous for projects like the New York High Line which he designed in collaboration with Diller Scofidio + Renfro, stands for a new way to think about garden art. In Thomas Piper’s film portrait, the artist gets to the heart of this new way of thinking: “Plants are like characters, I stage them, and I compose with them.”
The filmmaker uncovers Oudolf’s creative processes and views starting from the first sketches and conceptual designs, through his philosophical and aesthetical credos, up to the ecological implications of his work. Piper employs varied light effects and depths of focus, as well as unusual framing and color schemes to create a setting for the contemplative atmosphere and the changing moods of Oudolf’s gardens. Thus, he manages to communicate an emotional spectrum which includes the transience of beauty as much as the beauty of transience.
Piet Oudolf was born in 1944 in Haarlem, Netherlands. Since 1982, he has lived and worked in Hummelo, a tiny village in the East of the Netherlands, where he started a perennial nursery with his wife. His garden has since become renowned for its radical approach and ideas about planting design.
Oudolf also co-founded Future Plants, a company specializing in selecting, growing, breeding and protecting plants for landscaping and public areas. Oudolf`s recent projects include No. 5 Culture Chanel, Paris, France; The High Line, New York; Lurie Garden, Millennium Park, Chicago; Serpentine Gallery, London, England, and the Giardino delle Vergini, which was redesigned for the Venice Biennale.
Oudolf is also a successful author, having co-written numerous books such as “Planting: A New Perspective” (2013), “Landscapes in Landscapes” (2011), “Gardening with Grasses” (1998), “Designing with Plants and Planting Design” (1999), “Dream Plants for the Natural Garden” (2000), “Planting the Natural Garden” (2003), and “Planting Design: Gardens in Time and Space” (2005). In his 35-year career, Oudolf has achieved international acclaim, and has been awarded an Honorary Fellowship from RIBA for developing radical ideas in Planting Design and the Prince Bern-hard Cultural Foundation Award.
Thomas Piper is an award-winning non-fiction filmmaker, specializing in documenting the contemporary arts. He has directed, photographed and edited over 30 films on subjects including the visual artists Pablo Picasso, Ellsworth Kelly, Sol LeWitt, Alex Katz, and Kiki Smith; architects including Frank Lloyd Wright, Peter Eisenman, Jeanne Gang, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Thom Mayne, Jean Nouvel, and Steven Holl, and the writer James Salter.
Thomas Piper is Director of Production for the Checkerboard Film Foundation, responsible for di-recting, shooting, and editing long-format documentaries on individuals who have made important contributions to the contemporary arts.