Tree Catalog, 2017

Tree Catalog

When I get out of the 7 train at Grand Central, I am faced with a long stairwell leading up to 42nd St. At the base of the stairwell, I often notice the yellow, hand painted numbers, which demarcate the first flight. Should I catalog all the trees in my yard? All the rocks and sticks too?

Tree Catalog
Tree Catalog

Tollens, 2015

Clothing Sculpture: Tollens, 2015 (side view, detail)

In May of 2015, I created a site-specific work for the Museum Rijswijk in The Hague, The Netherlands.
For this show, I made a clothing sculpture incorporating the antique furniture and effects displayed in an 18th century period room.
The room had been the study of Hendrik Tollens, who was a renowned poet in his day. In fact, he wrote the original national anthem of The Netherlands. Today, he is nearly forgotten.

10’ x 16’ x 9’ (H x W x D)

Approximately 1.5 tons.

Second-hand clothing, antiquities, wooden armature

While I was installing the work Dorothé Swinkels interviewed me for the 05/01/15 issue of the Textiel Plus:

How do you proceed realizing your site-specific installation in Rijswijk. Did Anne (Kloosterboer, the curator) send you photographs of possible spots? How/ where do you collect the needed material?
Anne and I discussed a few locations
and she was pretty flexible. I am intrigued by the Tollens room because I love poetry and the setting is so rich and complex. Seemed like it would be a great challenge and I love antiquities.
Your sketch, hope you can already tell a little more about this. How do you describe these works to others?
The idea is to bring all the furniture and perhaps some of the paintings into the middle of the room, where the antique rug currently sits.  I’d like to position the furniture and effects so they look randomly placed and in disarray, and then carefully fold clothing into the empty spaces, rising up about 7 or 8 feet. It expect it will look a bit like a cross-section of an archaeological dig, where the clothing is a stand in for the layers of earth, of time. The rug will then lay across the top.

Below is an excerpt of a review by Joe Lewis for Artlyst, London, England, from 19aug15:

Melander who folds and stacks clothing to create temporary sculpture/ installations has, with his “Tollen’s” piece, swallowed up the contents of this “staged” room. Book cabinets, writing desk, table and chairs, and other 19th-century decor objects are all part [or become part] of his pile of stacked folded clothing. It is in the stacking that his joyful colour work is created. Using no dye, and relying on the range of colours that have been in the fashion market, his selection and placement of colour is simply brilliant. The work changes in colour as you look up across and around the corners of the cube, going from dark at the bottom, anchoring the work to the floor on which it sits, drifts in layers of dark to light to dark again, with swirls and diagonal shifts of colour that are as complex and subtle as a Turner landscape. The stack is topped off with the carpet, which was on the floor and provides the footprint for the work

Into the Fold, Friends, 2010 (video)

Clothing Sculpture: Into the Fold, Friends, 2010

Description: As part of the Friends Seminary “Peace Week” celebration, I worked with parents and students to create an 8 x 8 foot clothing sculpture.

After a month, most of the clothing was sent to Haiti to support the relief effort.

Approximate Size:
8′ x 8′ x 2′ (H x W x D)

Second-hand clothing, wood and steel

Untitled (25 Belts), 2005

Belt Sculpture: Untitled (25 Belts), 2005 (angle)

Untitled (25 Belts), 2005

Approximate Size:
8′ x 14″ x 14″ (H x W x D)


I chose this particular tree because of the vertical cleave in the trunk. The belts are symbolically performing a reparative task.

The longest belts are used at the base, where the tree is thickest, while the shortest belts are used at the top.

Thanks to the Riverhead, NY Congregationist Church Thrift Shop for all the belts.