After four grueling months of maintenance (Denes recalls the piece nearly killing her), the wheat was reaped and harvested. The crop yielded over a thousand pounds of grain, which traveled to 28 cities around the world in an exhibition titled “The International Art Show for the End of World Hunger.” Audiences were encouraged to take seeds from the show and plant them.
Denes’s miraculous ability to synthesize science, philosophy, linguistics, ecology, and psychology into a cohesive whole is a through line in all of her work. Rice/Tree/Burial, a piece first realized in New York’s Sullivan County in 1968, is a three-step ritual Denes developed as an exercise in what she termed “eco-logic.” It involves planting rice to represent life, chaining trees for interference and decay, and burying her poetry to symbolize concept and creation. Meanwhile, her monumental Tree Mountain – A Living Time Capsule (1992–96) in Western Finland is a literal forest. Dedicated by the Finnish government in 1996, the work is legally protected for the next 400 years.