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El Bosque Tallado (The Sculpted Forest)

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Visiting Information

To reach the Sculpted Forest, which is not too far from the town of El Bolsón, take route 258 toward Piltriquitrón hill. 13 kilometers (not quite ten miles) down a winding road is a parking area where visitors can leave their cars. After roughly an hour’s walk the visitor will arrive at the site, roughly 1500 meters [4921 feet] above sea level. It is open all day; remember to bring water and wear proper shoes, and begin the climb early in the day or in late afternoon, because the mid-day sun can be intense. No smoking, no camping, and visitors must remove any trash they create. The walk is not accessible to those with walking disabilities.

About the Artist/Site

In 1978 a devastating fire swept the mountains near Argentina’s border with Chile, leaving the blackened trunks of the trees as ghostly sentinels. A group of local artists, however, felt that they needed both to memorialize the blaze and help to bring the mountainside back to life. Led by sculptor Marcelo López, from November 14-22, 1998 they organized the first of several meetings in which they called on artists from across the country to help them revive the region’s spirit through cultural and artistic displays, which would concomitantly revive local tourism – and thus the local economy.

The first day each artist was assigned an area of the hill and each chose a trunk upon which to carve; most returned to lower elevations during the evenings, returning each morning by foot or horseback. Many worked with chain saws in addition to other carving tools; these trees – the oak and beech – are hard woods often used for furniture, so took the carvings well and did not splinter. Local artists included Raúl Navarra, Hugo Vázquez, Juan Carlos Toledo and Eduardo Iuso in addition to López; they also invited Nadia Guthmann from Bariloche, Ángel F. Marzorati and Raúl Varnerin from Buenos Aires, Cayetano Donato and Arturo Alvarez Lomba from the province of Buenos Aires, Jaime A. Pereira and Guillermo Rodríguez from Tucumán, and Susana Vallone de Resistencia from Chaco. Each artist worked in his or her own style; some worked on the vertical skeletons of the dead trees, while others carved into those felled by the fire and subsequent decay. Some of the works are meant to represent forest spirits, particularly those which, it is hoped, will safeguard the area in the future. The Sculpted Forest has been declared a site of Artistic Patrimony.

To reach the Sculpted Forest, which is not too far from the town of El Bolsón, take route 258 toward Piltriquitrón hill. 13 kilometers (not quite ten miles) down a winding road is a parking area where visitors can leave their cars. After roughly an hour’s walk the visitor will arrive at the site, roughly 1500 meters [4921 feet] above sea level. It is open all day; remember to bring water and wear proper shoes, and begin the climb early in the day or in late afternoon, because the mid-day sun can be intense. No smoking, no camping, and visitors must remove any trash they create. The walk is not accessible to those with walking disabilities.

~Jo Farb Hernández



Map and site information


El Bolsón, Río Negro, Argentina
Latitude/Longitude: -41.964923 / -71.535339

Visiting Information

To reach the Sculpted Forest, which is not too far from the town of El Bolsón, take route 258 toward Piltriquitrón hill. 13 kilometers (not quite ten miles) down a winding road is a parking area where visitors can leave their cars. After roughly an hour’s walk the visitor will arrive at the site, roughly 1500 meters [4921 feet] above sea level. It is open all day; remember to bring water and wear proper shoes, and begin the climb early in the day or in late afternoon, because the mid-day sun can be intense. No smoking, no camping, and visitors must remove any trash they create. The walk is not accessible to those with walking disabilities.

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