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The Book of the Olive

The Olive tree is the theme of his work. So we find ourselves set in the Mediterranean culture landscape, with the practice of the oil harvest stretching back through generations, and a cuisine unthinkable without olive oil, and not least the precious wood which is much appreciated by traditional cabinet makers. Besides food, olive oil has been used for medicines, as a fuel in oil lamps, to make soap, and as bodily decoration. The importance and antiquity of olive oil can be seen in the fact that the word "oil" actually derives from the same root as "olive".

According to archaeological discoveries one can go back as far as 5,000 years to a codice found in Babylon ( Hammurabi) where again a whole chapter is dedicated to the laws for the trade in olive oil. Towards 500 B.C. the Greeks brought the first olives to Sicily , Sardinia, and Calabria, from there the cultivation extends slowly to Rome. From: Coltivate L’Olivo by Adriano Del Fabro , 1992 .

Records on clay tablets found in Ebla, Syria from 2400 B.C. describe olive plantations and the amounts of oil production of those days. They account for 7000 jars, each 60 Kg of oil , for the royal retinue and 4000 jars for the people. In Akkadian language of these people zi-ir-tun meant olive from which the arabic zeitoun derives arriving today at azeite.

A continuity exists from the earliest known civilisations until these sculptures of Michael Motteram today. The olive grove becomes this sculptor’s mythology ; it is from that space that he views the world. The sculptor in talking about his work uses the concept of bonding: To have seen standing and to have harvested the tree brought me a new relationship to the wood. I know if I buy a nice sawn plank from the wood-mill , it will have a form that has a given geometric shape, perhaps a little warped or cracked but otherwise much the same as the plank underneath on the pile. It is not sentimentality, a wish for a bygone age. No it is much deeper and of greater importance.

La Forme Verticale La Forma Verticale
Height: 70cm
Olive wood: Italy
Travertine Base: Tivoli, Italy

 

The First Tree The First Tree
Height: 1,20m
Olive wood: Italy
Pinetree base

 

The Book of the Olive The Book of the Olive
Width: 40cm
Olive wood: Italy

 

Relief Relief
Width: 50cm
Olive wood: Itália
Iron frame

 

The Cry The Cry
Height: 50cm
Olive wood: Italy

 

Olive III Olive III( changes)
Height: 85cm
Olive wood: Italy
Base of Limestone: Praia da Adraga, Portugal

 

Olive I Olive I ( experience)
Height: 85cm
Olive wood: Portugal
Base of Limestone: Praia da Adraga, Portugal

 

Olive II Olive II ( bird )
Height: 45cm
Olive wood: Portugal
Base of Limestone: Praia da Adraga, Portugal


Olive II