Lessons from the Forest Floor

Lessons from the forest floor - CREDIT Rhiannon Slatter

Artist: Alexander Knox
Year: 2017
Location: Belgrave Community Hub forecourt, 1616/1624 Burwood Hwy, Belgrave VIC 3160
Coordinates: Latitude: -37.909290 Longitude: 145.351837  


Lessons from the Forest Floor is a large scale sculpture of exuberant and vibrantly coloured fungi stems emerging from the concrete entrance to the Belgrave Community Hub.  


In creating Lessons from the Forest Floor, artist Alexander Knox drew upon various forms and ideas about fungi.   “For me they embody the mystique of the forest. There is something wonderfully light and other worldly about them,” says Alexander.   “Fungi is both inspiring as a sculptural model and as a metaphor of tenacious renewal. Without this useful kingdom of organisms, we’d be lost.”   Fungi has a strong link to the area, particularly Sherbrooke Forest. In his research, Alexander noted the strong tradition of with Aboriginal people using fungi.  Here and in many other cultures across the world, it is known for many uses relating to healing and medicines, linking it to the community hub’s role as a health centre.   “There really are so many lessons we can learn from our friends on the forest floor. With nature lies the answer to so many of our most pressing questions. I feel the people of Belgrave, as contemporary forest dwellers, know this better than most.”  


This fully engineered steel sculpture takes the form of stylised fungi. The fungi are arranged as in nature, but some also sprout out mid-air floating like magic parasols. The attached fungi appear to glide up through the ground, unconcerned with their concrete footings.  

The sculpture has a naturalness and dynamic energy to it. Its undulating caps, arcing stems and stylised gills and frills embody a playful air of artifice.   The significant scale and brightness of this structure makes it eye-catching for visitors.When interacting with this work it almost feels as though we are playing on the forest floor.  


Lessons from the Forest Floor is located in the Belgrave Community Hub forecourt.   Commission Details: Yarra Ranges Council commissioned the sculpture Lessons from the Forest Floor by Alexander Knox in 2017.