After the successful collaboration for the project “For Forest – the unbroken attraction of nature” in 2019, the joint vision of Enzo Enea and Klaus Littmann is further strengthened and once again made accessible to the public with an art installation.
The walk-in arena offers seating for 50 people with a view of the only main player in the center, the ironwood tree (Parrotia persica) from the witch hazel family. The project is a reminiscence and a natural development of the art intervention “For Forest” in which Enea planted a forest in a football stadium. Arena for a Tree” once again focuses on nature and celebrates the tree as an ambassador and symbol for nature.
Whereas in Klagenfurt 299 trees were staged by Enea to form a mixed forest in the football stadium, in Basel everything is concentrated on a single tree. As in Klagenfurt, Enea landscape architecture is responsible for selecting the tree. It is not a question of mere beauty and strength, but rather of whether it can be integrated into the Basel tree population and whether its species is capable of long-term adaptation to the changed conditions caused by global warming.
The tree is the center of Klaus Littmann’s walk-in art intervention in the middle of Basel’s Münsterplatz. This tree, on which all eyes and thoughts are focused, is an appeal, a memorial and a representative of the forest, nature and the indispensable importance of its preservation.
Enzo Enea’s choice fell on the ironwood tree, the Parrotia Persica from the witch hazel family. The slow-growing ironwood tree, which can reach a height of 10 meters, is made of very dense, hard wood and is so heavy that it is one of the few types of wood that does not float on water. Its leaves show a spectacular range of colors from yellow to red in autumn. Originally from Persia and the Caucasus, where the climate is also continental, the iron tree is used to distinct seasons. It likes the warmth, is hardy at the same time and tolerates the urban climate particularly well. This robustness, which is also characterized by hardly any pest or disease infestation, qualifies the stress-resistant ironwood tree for Enzo Enea as the perfect protagonist, which is also optimally prepared regarding the effects of climate change: “For me, the ironwood tree is the tree of hope and the future par excellence and as such a positive symbol for climate protection, which we humans must actively promote. Because nature does not need us, but we need nature.”
After the art installation is finished, the arena will leave Münsterplatz, but the tree will stay, anchoring its roots firmly in the Basel soil and handing it over to the city as a gift.
To the project Website «Arena for a Tree»