Border trees are trees planted on specific locations in the landscape to mark borders between properties and make them visible from afar. These trees are located on maps and are subject to specific laws. Since 2019, Segers has been searching for these unknown types of trees and tries to make them known again. In 'The Bones', the artist shows three trees that cannot be found in the administration of Belgium: though they were once a border tree, the border was moved and the trees became hidden elements in the landscape again.
Ballroom Gallery             Brussels, Belgium
soloshow The Bones
January 29, 2022 - March 9, 2022

It takes a lot of voices to create a song of us   


Ask the giants,
2022, 61.5 × 41 × 4.4 cm, Blue silkscreen print, custom wooden frame with symbols 


This border tree was an important landmark in the middle of a forest in the Belgian town of Genk where three roads crossed. The Corsican pine is a border tree and a whisper tree combined. Children would turn to the whisper tree to share and entrust secrets, grief, fears, thoughts, stories, and so on.

They have a cherrypie that might kill you,
2022, 61.5 × 41 × 4.4 cm, Blue silkscreen print, custom wooden frame with symbols


This cherry tree used to be the border between the properties of two rivalling family farms. In June 1958, after decennia of competition, the women and children of the families were tired of the friction and decided to resolve the fight. They went to pick cherries and brought them home to bake pies. In the evening, the families gathered around the tree and ate each other’s pastries. Today the tree still flourishes but doesn’t mark the border between properties. Over the years, properties merged and the tree now stands in the middle of a field. It lost its symbol as a border tree.


There are a lot of things, 2022, 61.5 × 41 × 4.4 cm, Blue silkscreen print, custom wooden frame with symbols


This border tree was visible from afar and was used as a point of orientation to reach the castle of the count of the Condroz region in Belgium. It was used mainly by visitors coming from France. The mayor of Profondeville (Belgium) was in conflict with the count and decided to hide this tree by planting an enormous forest around it. Over the years, the Tilia tree became more and more hidden, until it could no longer be used as a point of reference. Travellers were confronted with a widely spreadout forest. Vehicles and horses were unable to pass, and many travellers got lost.

Someone loves you (Herchies), 2022, 41x61cm, Silver silkscreen print on ultra black paper, 38 mm multiplex, custom frame


Nail trees were common throughout south-eastern Europe in the Middle Ages. The reasons behind their use are not totally clear. It is thought that the practice of sacrificing what at the time would have been a valuable item, nails, was done as an act of thanks or in hope of good luck and healing. This form of tree worship makes sense when you look at the tree as the connection between Earth and the gods, facilitated by the roots and the crown of the tree. By hammering a piece of textile or a nail into the tree, it will absorb all the pain and heal the person who was touched by the fabric. The Catholic church tried to lay claim to these pagan beliefs, which explains why you find little saints or chapels next to such pilgrimage locations.


Pollinators, 2022, UV print on dibond, metal frame, 38 × 26 cm
Battery, 2022, Silver silkscreen on ultra black paper, custom made oak frame with symbols, 38.5 × 25 cm
Someone loves you (Stambruges), 2022, 41x61cm, Silver silkscreen print on ultra black paper, 38 mm multiplex, custom frame
Structure for seeds, mouths and big big ears, 2022, variable sizes, wooden structure, printed curtain, audio system, videodevice, custom fur niture

The installation Structure for seeds, mouths, and big big ears is supported by Vlaamse Gemeenschapscommisie. Many thanks for the support.
It takes a lot of voices to create a song of us, 2022, UV print on dibond, metal frame, 29 × 20 cm


When you think about border trees, you discuss territories, politics, crises, botanical species, animals,...  These trees are not just wood; the natural world does not follow manmade islands. Fungi make up an enormous network that stretches beyond any kind of border as a ‘wood wide web’, pollinators work wherever they find a flower from which to take pollen, birds migrate around the globe navigating it as a whole and not as a (flexible) puzzle of fragments. In a changing and unstable climate, the idea of border trees gives us the opportunity to reintroduce a local and community driven use of the landscape; they can help us learn from the stories and information imbued in these landmarks.

Nail trees are trees you can go to and ask for a healing, in a tradition that is as old as humans. This form of tree worship comes from the belief that a tree is the connection between Earth and the gods, between the roots and the crown of the tree. By hammering a piece of textile into the tree, it will absorb all the pain and heal the person who was touched by the fabric. The trees used for this tradition are mostly oaks. Nail trees are part of the religion of the Celts, where elements of the landscape such as plants and trees but also animals were thought of as gods. The catholic church tried to claim these pagan beliefs, which explains why you find little saints or chapels next to these pilgrimage locations. In Belgium, Segers found 2 actively used nail trees, and even met someone who was asking for a healing process.

Finally, the study room 'Structure for seeds, mouths and big big ears' is an adjustable wooden structure were books, videos and audio are joined to make a connection to the exhibition and the visitor. The structure is shown here for the first time, and will afterwards be adapted to other locations.
Ask your hands to know the things they hold ︎