8 September 2019 marks the opening of FOR FOREST – The Unending Attraction of Nature, a temporary art intervention by Klaus Littmann and Austria’s largest public art installation to date. Bringing together art, nature and architecture in an unprecedented way, this monumental art intervention sees the transformation of Wörthersee football Stadium in Klagenfurt into a native central European forest, with almost 300 trees, some weighing up to six tons each, carefully installed on the existing pitch. FOR FOREST is open daily, free to access and on view until 27 October 2019.
8 September – 27 October, 2019
Wörthersee Stadium Südring 207
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.Overseen by Enea Landscape Architecture, the forest is composed of a diverse range of species such as silver birch, alder, aspen, white willow, hornbeam, field maple and common oak. Once transplanted the forest will take on a life of its own, changing colours as the season turns and attract wildlife.
Seating up to 30,000 spectators, the surroundings of Wörthersee Stadium will dramatically shape the visitor experience. From 10am until 10pm daily, audiences will experience a unique panorama of trees, day and night, under natural light or by floodlight. Encountering FOR FOREST will trigger a multiplicity of responses and emotions, and depending on the time of day or night the trees will form an ever-changing landscape. This captivating panorama will pave the way for a whole new perspective and understanding of forests.
After the free art intervention at the stadium ends on 27 October 2019, the forest will be carefully replanted on a public site in close proximity to Wörthersee Stadium at a scale of 1:1 and remain as a living ‘forest sculpture’. Parallel to this, a pavilion is planned in order to document the project for the long-term.
FOR FOREST is the trigger for a vibrant programme of related satellite events and exhibitions across the city of Klagenfurt. One of the highlights is the joint exhibition Touch Wood at the Museum of Modern Art in Carinthia (MMKK) and at the Stadtgalerie. The Wulfenia Cinema and CineCity have organised a specially curated film programme which explores the themes of nature and the environment, and includes screenings of Werner Herzog’s Fitzcarraldo, Werner Boote’s Plastic Planet and Jan Haft’s The Green Planet. Entry to the film screenings is free for the duration of FOR FOREST. Further art projects are planned for public urban spaces, including exhibitions by the Lendhauer Association and performances by Vada, the smallest theatre in the world. Wörthersee football Stadium will also become the backdrop for performances and rehearsals by world-renowned Vienna Burgtheater.