Alexander Reichstein: The Family Tree

Glowing human figures presenting various generations mounted onto a natural tree.

In this work, Reichstein has created a big family tree with people belonging to different social groups, nationalities and cultures mixed together as in real life. The Family Tree is based on Reichstein’s interest in history and the fate of past generations. The fragility of human life and the rapidness of generations falling into oblivion are points of departure for this work. 

The artist makes use of the beauty and structure of a natural tree and mounts glowing human figures, made by the artist, onto the branches. A timeline emerges at the bottom and climbs upwards: generations change, clothes and hairstyles become more and more modern. 

The figures are made of galvanized steel wire and wire mesh. They are sprayed with UV-sensitive paint. Due to the strong UV light the characters glow in the dark but remain transparent. Despite their durability, the figures look very fragile and delicate, expressing the fragility of human life. The entire composition consists of 70 small metal sculptures.  

The soundtrack is created by sound artist Petri Laakso. The beautiful music is combined with the hum of different languages, whispers, laughter and songs. 

Light sources, materials, and equipment:  

Dimensions of the work, approximately (width-height-depth): 
The instalation is based on a natural tree 7-12m high.

Electricity consumption:
Standard mains current (10A/16A).

Does the artwork use sound?
Ambient sound.

Support and other structures:
The work needs support structures, hanging points, or similar.

Structures, hardware, or other equipment needed from the client: 
1. Audio equipment (player and speaker). 2. Structures to mount 4-8 UV lights (lights delivered by the artist).

Minimum height of the space:
Outside, 6 m.

Minimum square meters of the space:
Outside, 25 m2.

Requirements for the space: darkness, temperature, colouring (light / dark / specific colour / other) etc.:
Complete darkness (no other lights close to the installation or behind it).

Building time and people required (estimate):
Two helpers with a crane or lift for two days to mount the sculptures, four hours to dismantle.

Artist's presence:
Artist or their representative must be present during building.

Seen before at:
Lux Söderlångvik, Kemiö island, 2023


BLAF Best of Light Art in Finland
is hosted by
Finnish Light Art Society FLASH

Producer: Annukka Ketola
+358 40 735 3972

Mia Kivinen /
Anna Björklund /

linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram