Involved Artists:

Max Peintner (Österreich)

The Project


„FOR FOREST – The Unending Attraction of Nature” was a temporary art intervention by Klaus Littmann that turned the Wörthersee Stadium in Klagenfurt into Austria‘s largest public art installation from 8 September to 27 October 2019.

Using 300 trees, some of which weigh up to six tonnes, landscape architect Enzo Enea covered the entire playing field with a mixed forest characteristic of Central Europe.

From the grandstands, visitors could admire the spectacle of the trees day and night (from 10am until 10pm). Admission was free. A sight that was as unfamiliar as it was fascinating and stirred up a range of emotions and reactions! Depending on the time of day (or night), the trees constituted a constantly changing landscape that was shaped by the weather as well as the autumnal turning of the leaves. The installation was a clever play on our emotions when faced with what should be a familiar sight, placed in an entirely different context. With this monumental work of art, Littmann challenged our perception of nature and sharpened our awareness of the future relation between nature and humankind.

The project also sees itself as a warning: One day, we might have to admire the remnants of nature in specially assigned spaces, as is already the case with zoo animals.

Klaus Littmann’s Idea: The project was initiated by the artist and international contemporary art mediator Klaus Littmann. Klaus Littmann first saw the pencil drawing “The Unending Attraction of Nature”, by Max Peintner (born 1937), over 30 years ago, and has since held on to the idea of turning this striking dystopia into a reality.

Klaus Littmann lives and works in Basel. Littmann studied at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, where his teachers included Joseph Beuys, and later established his reputation as a creator and freelance mediator of contemporary art. In this capacity, he made a name for himself as the initiator and organiser of individual and group exhibitions, eventually focusing on the planning and realisation of topic-specific art exhibitions and interventions in public spaces. Every single one of his complex and unique projects reflects the dichotic tension that results from the artist‘s engagement with everyday culture and the confrontation of contemporary art with urban spaces.

„FOR FOREST – The Unending Attraction of Nature“ was realised based on the artistic plans by Klaus Littmann, inspired by a drawing by Austrian artist Max Peintner (*1937). In Max Peintner‘s pencil drawing „The Unending Attraction of Nature“ (1970/71), the threat to our natural environment is not conveyed by pointing an incriminating finger, but rather through a thought experiment: Imagine a time when forests will exist only as exhibition objects! With this idea, the author proved himself far ahead of his time – after all, the demise of the world‘s forests did not become a topic of wider public interest until the 1980s. Over the years, the drawing became a thought-provoking icon far beyond the realm of fine arts and has made its way into more than 20 German-language textbooks, as well as being referred to in a wealth of international publications. In the meantime, the far-reaching message of the image has provided multiple impulses for philosophy, socio-culture, biology, ecology, anthropology and literature.

Klaus Littmann grew up in Basel, Switzerland, studied at Düsseldorf Art Academy with Joseph Beuys and established himself as a mediator of contemporary art.

He made his name through unique solo and group exhibitions positioned in diverse contexts. After many years working within gallery and museum spaces, he started presenting theme oriented art exhibitions in the public arena. Underlying each of his complex and unique projects is a dichotic tension highlighting the artist’s preoccupation with everyday culture and the confrontation between contemporary art and urban spaces.

Littmann’s ability to discover previously unknown creative talent as well as his collaboration with internationally known artists are the determinant quality factors in his mediation work and in every project he delivers. Public interest for Littmann Kulturprojekte, as well as media response to his work, has grown immensily throughout the years.

A selection of internationally renowned artists Littmann has worked with include: Christo & Jeanne-Claude, Tony Cragg, Guillaume Bijl, César, Jean Tinguely, Dieter Roth, Leon Golub, Keith Haring, Michel Blazy, Job Koelewijn, Daniel Buren, Subodh Gupta, Daniel Spoerri, Niki de Saint Phalle, Peter Kogler, Katharina Sieverding, among many others.

Past projects in public spaces include:

Jardin des Planètes (Basel. 2018)
Real Fiction Cinema Tour (Switzerland, 2010-2012); Real Fiction Cinema (Shanghai, 2015); Real Fiction Cinema (Dongguan, CHN, 2016)
Move for Life (Paris, 2011); Move for Life (Biennale de Lyon, 2011)
Public Viewing (Shanghai, 2007)
Engel (Basel, 2002)
Senteurs et couleurs du Maroc (Marrakech, Foundation Dar Bellarj, 2000)
Un mois de lecture des Bâlois mit César (Basel, 1996)

Past exhibitions and installations:

Paris Sans Fin (Cecina, Italy, 2018)
Faces of Football (Vigo & La Coruña, Spain, 2008)
Kultort Stadion (Basel, 2003 & Barcelona, 2008)
Christo & Jeanne-Claude (Madrid, 2006)
Keith Haring Editions on Paper (Madrid, Vitoria & Valencia, Spain, 2005-2006)
Neuer Supermarkt mit Guillaume Bijl (Basel, 1998)
China Now (1996) und Keith Haring Editions on Paper Wanderausstellung (Hiroshima, Osaka, Nagoya, Tokyo, Fukuoka, Japan, 1994)
Drogen – Welt in Trance (Switzerland, 1991 & Austria, 1993)
Fussball in der Vitrine (Switzerland, 1982 & Vienna, 1993)
Unnatural Bodies with Jim Whiting (Basel, Zürich, Köln, 1988 & Berlin, 1989)
Das Auto in der Vitrine (Basel, 2005-2006, Frankfurt, 1983 & Thun, 1985)

In 2002, Klaus Littmann was awarded the Cultural Award of the City of Basel. Over eighty art projects realized by Littmann in Switzerland and abroad have been documented in catalogues and books.

In Max Peintner’s pencil drawing “The Unending Attraction of Nature” (1970/71), the threat to nature is not didactically conveyed with a moralizing undertone, but rather with a figure of thought: What if the forest became nothing more than an item on display! With this fictional idea, the artist was way ahead of his time, as discussions about forest dieback only started in the 1980’s. His first futuristic drawings appeared under the name “Contributions to the Future. Critics of Technology and Civilisation under the Guise of Utopia”.

By juxtaposing the intimacy of the forest confined to the stadium with the hyper-industrialised dystopia beyond it, Peintner’s work anticipates a world in which nature has become a footnote to the progress of a civilisation based on machines.

Peintner interpreted his landscapes as dream-like visions, and the prophetic nature of the picture is now felt keenly in the present day as civilisation attempts to redress its destructive relationship with nature. Little wonder then that the visionary expressiveness of the image has seen the artwork used in more than 20 German school and textbooks, as well as in publications in France, Denmark, Estonia, Czech Republic and Hungary.

Max Peintner studied civil engineering at the Technical College of Vienna as well as architecture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna
In 1964 he published together with Heinz Geretsegger the monography «Otto Wagner 1841–1918, unbegrenzte Großstadt, Beginn der modernen Architektur» (Residenz Verlag)
In 1969 he published his first drawings with the title “Contributions to the Future. Critics of Technology and Civilisation under the Guise of Utopia”
In 1972 some of Peintner’s works were exposed in the art gallery of Baden-Baden
In 1977 the documenta 6 showed some of his works
In 1986 he represented Austria at the Biennale di Venezia together with Karl Pranti
Peintner’s works have been shown in different solo and group exhibitions such as in the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart (1982), in the Rupertinum in Salzburg (1985/1986), in the Museion in Bozen (1989) and in the Ludwig Kortárs Múvészeti Múzeum in Budapest (1996/1997).

The Neue Galerie in Graz dedicated a retrospective to him in 2000. One of Peintner’s pencil drawings from 1974 is in the collection of the Museum of Modern Arts in New York.

Max Peintner lives and works in Vienna.

Visiting | FOR FOREST

Wörthersee Stadium
Südring 207
9020 Klagenfurt
Open daily 10am – 10pm including public holidays from 8 September to 27 October 2019.

Free admission

Publication and film:
There will be a special publication to coincide with FOR FOREST and further details will be announced soon. A documentary by Robert Schabus is also due to be released in autumn 2019.

Related programming:
A satellite programme of events coinciding with FOR FOREST is due to take place around Klagenfurt and further details will be announced soon.

Reiber PR
Ginevra Fiorentini
T. +44 (0)20 7079 33 00




Press Review: