Klaus Littmann, Arena für einen Baum, Landesmuseum Zürich. Foto/Photo: TES.

Arena for a Tree

The Arena for a Tree (Arena für einen Baum) is an art intervention in the courtyard of the Landesmuseum in Zurich. The freely accessible Arena is a stand-in for nature and, at the same time, a powerful plea for its preservation.

The project is a follow-up to the Arena for a Tree on the Münsterplatz in Basel in spring 2021 (see Swiss Spectator 28 April 2021). However, his interest in trees and their environment goes back much further. The concern for the forest and the climate put his project in the current perspective.

In 2019, the artist realised the project of 299 trees in Klagenfurt’s Wörthersee football stadium. The Austrian artist Max Peinter (1937) and his drawing (1971) of trees in a stadium were the direct inspiration.

Other artists were interested in this issue as well, among others Franz Gertsch (1930) and his Waldweg (2013) and Joseph Beuys (1921-1986) and his Rettet den Wald (1982) and the planting of 7 000 oaks at the Documenta in Kassel in 1982.

Landscape architect Enzo Enea chose the ironwood tree (Parrotia Persica) from the witch-hazel family in Basel. The ironwood tree comes from classical Persia, is used in different seasons, and tolerates the urban climate. The aim was to introduce other trees in a changing environment.

In Zurich, however, the artist has chosen a dead fruit tree. The Arena is the same. However, the dead tree is a warning to humankind and an encouragement to do something and take action.

The artist will present the project in Venice and other European cities in the forthcoming years.

Source and further information: Isabel Zürcher, ‘Arena für einen Baum’ in Noëmi Crain Merz, Pascale Meyer (ed.), Im Wald. Eine Kulturgeschichte, Zurich, 2022).