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For Forest. An epic art installation comes to the football terraces
With the monumental For Forest art installation, Klaus Littmann confronts our perception of nature and what the future has in store for forestry.
An Austrian art project puts forestry in focus
We never tire of banging the drum over the climate emergency and forestry preservation in particular. However, the latest work of one Swiss-based artist has found a unique, inspirational and epic stage for his latest statement. It comes in the in shape of a 30,000 capacity sports stadium in neighbouring Austria.
Running until 27 October 2019, the temporary art installation, For Forest by Klaus Littmann, is transforming the Wörthersee football stadium in Klagenfurt into Austria’s largest public art project.
Around 300 trees, each weighing up to six tonnes, have been carefully transplanted onto the existing football pitch to give the impression of a native central European forest. This resonates particularly well with us in that this is exactly where we source our own sustainable, historic oak. (OK, ours was first in use some 500 years ago, but let’s not fall out over the details.)
From the stadium’s stands, visitors to the Wöthersee can engage with the incongruous spectacle of the trees from morning until well in to the evening, from 10am until 10pm.
Access for everyone
In what appears to be an admirable attempt to be as inclusive as possible, admission is free-of-charge and is intended as a unique experience which is bound to provoke a range of emotions and reactions. Depending on the time of day (or night), the trees will constitute a constantly changing landscape that is shaped by the weather as well as the autumnal turning of the leaves.
With this monumental work of art, Littmann confronts our perception of nature and sharpens our awareness of what the future might have in store for our relationship with the natural world around us. It is impressive stuff!
The implied warning is also about as subtle as one of those mighty oaks; the way we are headed, we may, one day, find ourselves having to admire the last remaining specimens of many species – flora and fauna – in specially designated spaces.
Is that a little far-fetched?
No. This is already the case with animals in zoos and with countless plant species in horticultural centres and protection zones around the world.
It takes a Herculean effort to encourage the general public to climb aboard with the politics of forestry unless it is in times of clear and present emergency, as the recent Amazonian wild fires have shown. We believe that For Forest does just this.
And, as any football fan will tell you, we are always pinning our hopes and dreams on the next hero. As Klaus Littmann shows, superstar strikers come in all shapes and sizes, and often when we expect them the least.
Images: Gerhard Maurer & Emmanuel Fradin