While walking along the coast of Ireland, Els Dietvorst discovered how the wind forces the trees slightly on their knees. These bending trees are known to the local population as ´shrugs´. Intrigued by their form, Dietvorst collected various washed-up pieces of driftwood. After two years of gathering, together with a local craftsman she fashioned a new, downward-bending tree. You can see the assembled pieces of wood, just like its original, as a shelter of fortune. Under the curved branches, passers-by find protection against rain showers or heavy winds. Because the wood branches are very fragile, Dietvorst created a bronze counterpart for Beaufort. In this way she refined the washed-up pieces of wood into a place of safety.
In this way, Windswept takes its place within the socially-engaged oeuvre of the artist. Since the 1990s Dietvorst has picked up stories, elements or figures that often escape the eye of society as the raw material for her art. The form orients itself - just like the tree - to the situation: with drawings, sculpture, video, performance, theatre or installation, Dietvorst deploys a wide array of media. Her work is a vehicle for communication between public and environment, and herewith leans closely on Joseph Beuys´ ´Soziale Skulptur´. The artwork is never the end goal per se, but a way to create interaction between different groups of society. With Windswept she immortalises the idea of vulnerability by means of the newly-assembled tree.