At A Glance
Hand-fabricated from thousands of pieces of stainless steel pipe, plate and rods
Rises 34 feet high and weighs more than 3.5 tons
Part of Paine’s “Dendroid” series
In 2015, the Association for Public Art received a grant from the Daniel W. Dietrich II Trust, Inc. to acquire Symbiosis, a masterwork by internationally acclaimed artist Roxy Paine. The shimmering monumental sculpture had been on temporary display in Iroquois Park on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway since June 2014, courtesy of the artist and Marianne Boesky Gallery and with the cooperation of Philadelphia’s Department of Parks & Recreation and the City’s Art Commission. The acquisition enables Symbiosis to remain in Philadelphia and join other significant public artworks.
Hand-fabricated from thousands of pieces of stainless steel pipe, plate, and rods, Symbiosis suggests both ecological and anatomical branching systems.
They evoke arboreal structures, vascular systems, synaptic networks, and industrial pipelines
Rising 34 feet high, the more than 3.5 ton sculpture was created from standard industrial piping that was welded, formed, and polished in the artist’s studio to create two shimmering, interrelated organic forms that both buttress and weigh on one another, referencing the darker aspects of nature and the fierceness of its laws. Symbiosis represents the collision of two dendroids that result in stasis, a questionable relationship that teeters between support and detriment.
Roxy Paine’s work consistently blurs the lines between the natural and artificial. He is known for work that explores the collision of industry and nature, and his series of stainless steel “Dendroid” sculptures are exemplary manifestations of this practice. The “Dendroids,” a term combining “dendron” (Greek for “tree”) and -oid (a suffix meaning “form”), are monumental structures that convey a fusion of industrial and organic forms. They evoke arboreal structures, vascular systems, synaptic networks, and industrial pipelines, interpreting the natural world through a man-made lens. The structures represent search, growth, and the branching of systems that suggest dormant energy and potential, a theme Paine has explored in his work for the last 15 years.
Voices heard in the Museum Without Walls: AUDIO program: Roxy Paine is the artist who created Symbiosis. He is known for work that explores the collision of industry and nature. Tod Williams and Billie Tsien are the architects of the Barnes Foundation on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia. | Segment Producer: Jenny Lawton
Museum Without Walls: AUDIO is the Association for Public Art’s award-winning audio program for Philadelphia’s outdoor sculpture. Available for free by phone, mobile app, or online, the program features more than 150 voices from all walks of life – artists, educators, civic leaders, historians, and those with personal connections to the artworks.