The arena is the same as in Basel in 2021 on Münsterplatz, but Klaus Littmann has made a different choice for the tree at its center. The adaptable, climate-resistant ironwood tree in Basel 2021 is followed here by a 70- to 80-year-old “clinically dead high-stemmed fruit tree.”

The fact that he chooses a high-stem apple tree (Boskoop) is meant to remind us of an agriculture whose yield can only be secured with great manual effort (trees with lower crowns have largely displaced the high-stem). Since the 1950s, standard fruit trees in Switzerland have declined by over 60%.

The reasons are manifold:

- The conversion of dessert fruit production to low trunk led to the reduction of high trunk fruit trees.

- Structural change combined with mechanization in agriculture, forcing farmers to abandon less profitable branches of the business.

- The very strong construction activity at the edge of settlements also contributes to the reduction of trees.

- Neglected regeneration of high trunk fruit orchards through new planting and maintenance measures. Many high trunk fruit plants are obsolete.

- Climate change and dry periods

Following the art intervention, the dead tree is returned to nature and, as dead wood, also provides food, nesting sites, etc.: If the tree dies on a large scale, a natural cycle takes its course on a small scale.

The “Arena for a Tree” can be visited free of charge during the opening hours of the National Museum. 18.03 – 08.05.2022

With kind support of the Kulturstiftung Basel H. Geiger

Many thanks to: Landesmuseum Zürich | Schnetzer Puskas Ingenieure | enea landscape architecture | Häring AG

Opening times & address:
Landesmuseum Zurich, Museumstrasse 2, Zurich:
TUE – WE 10:00 – 17:00
TH 10:00 – 19:00
FR – SU 10:00 – 17:00

more about ARENA FOR A TREE, Basel 2021 / Zurich 2022 / Venice 2024