Art de fence (2019-2022)
In Sfakia, the wild west of Crete, the landscape is divided by fences, set there to protect olive groves and gardens from hungry goats and sheep and to prevent the animals of one shepherd from entering the pasture of another.
Many olive trees have their trunks dressed tightly in woven wire skirts in hopes of keeping the cattle from nibbling on their bark.
There are two kinds of fences I came across on my walks – woven and welded wire fences. Often, the fence is made of a combination of both, repaired with pieces of wood and barbed wire, where it had been damaged. When the shepherds have nothing better at hand, they mend the fence with dry parts of shrubs or other unexpected objects.
My first impression of the fences was completely negative – wounds to the landscape, the unused old pieces scattered everywhere like garbage, obstacles on the paths, traps for young animals and possible source of injuries to passers-by after dark.
On the second, third and many other looks I was granted later, I began to appreciate the intricate ways of how the fences are mended and began to see them not only as barriers and traps but also as gateways to new spaces, carriers of the messages of the locals, interventions with the land.