” For Forest “

Wilderness Abounds In The Heart Of A Football Stadium

Max Peintner x Klaus Littmann

Wilderness Abounds In The Heart Of A Football Stadium

” For Forest “

“The Unending Attraction of Nature,” by the Austrian artist Max Peintner, which inspired the project.Credit…Max Peintner; David Payr for The New York Times

In the 1970s, Austrian artist and architect Max Peintner pencilled a dystopian sketch about a world where trees would grow in specially designated spaces. That drawing, titled “The Unending Attraction of Nature” has recently been brought to life by Swiss art curator Klaus Littmann. Under Littmann’s guidance, the Wothersee stadium in Klagenfurt, Austria, became home to a native Central European forest. At the same time, it also standed for a commentary on climate change and deforestation.

Featuring almost 300 trees that have been carefully transplanted to the stadium, this unusual public art installation is the largest of its kind in Austria. For Littmann, it represents a 30-year journey that began when he discovered Peintner’s sketch at an art exhibition. Climate change didn’t headline global discussions at that point, even though it was recognised as a matter of concern in the not-so-distant future. Today, Littmann has no regrets about the amount of time it has taken for him to realise this project.

“Never has the timing of one of my projects been so spot on,”

he says, and rightly so. As the world grapples with depleting forests and debilitating climate change, Littmann’s forest sculpture abounds with life. Species of trees featured in the mix. More specifically including alder, aspen, silver birch, field maple, hornbeam, white willow, and common oak, among others. Displaying beautiful fall colours and attracting wildlife just as a natural forest would, they symbolise a verdant heaven.

And yet, there is an ominous ring to Littmann’s forest sculpture. Surrounded by floodlights and stadium seating, it presents a dystopian picture. Even as they marvel at its innate vibrancy and tranquillity, spectators can’t help but dwell on the broader reality. Through this slice of paradise, Littmann has drawn attention to the undeniable impacts of the anthropocene era. An age that has the environment reeling under severe stress from human activity.

Littmann named his installation “For Forest” and its implementation was under the supervision of Enea Landscape Architecture. It was wound up on 27th October 2019. Nevertheless, it will continue to live on as a full-scale forest sculpture not too far from Wothersee Stadium. To sum up, Littmann plans to support this unusual installation with an adjoining pavilion. A place where its flora and fauna can be documented in detail.

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