The thematic concentration on a single tree is continued in Zurich, but the message has become more pointed. The arena is the same as in 2021 on M├╝nsterplatz in Basel, but I have made a different choice for the tree in its centre. The adaptable, climate-resistant ironwood tree in Basel 2021 is followed here by a 70 to 80-year-old “clinically dead” high-stem fruit tree.

The fact that a high-stem apple tree (Boskoop) was chosen is intended as a reminder of an agriculture whose yield can only be secured with great manual effort (trees with lower crowns have displaced the high-stem over a large area). More than 11 million standard fruit trees were brutally felled or blown down in Switzerland between 1950 and 1975, changing Swiss agriculture forever. Since the 1950s, high-trunk fruit trees in Switzerland have declined by over 60%.

Following the art intervention, the Arena will leave Zurich again and go on tour. The “dead” tree is returned to nature and, as deadwood, also provides food and a nesting site: if the tree dies on a large scale, a natural cycle takes its course on a small scale. Depending on the destination, climate and season, the arena will take another tree as its centre.

The “Arena for a Tree” can be visited free of charge during the opening hours of the National Museum, independently of the exhibition “In the Forest. A Cultural History” exhibition. With kind support of the Kulturstiftung Basel H. Geiger

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