Urban trees remind me of the friction between our individual existence and our environment. Those plants were thrown into various man-made situations. Some of them seem to rebel, others compromise or adapt, yet others lift above the circumstances.
They are strangers rooted in a human world.
Over 100 years ago French colonists brought plane trees to Shanghai. Today this particular specimen holds up a red banner urging the public that “Everyone must care about the environment”. I remember a curious street sweeper with a huge birch broom fondly inspecting my drawing progress from time to time.
This trunk of a Makore tree was cut down in 1973, brought to Munich and erected in front of the Institute for Wood Research.
I found this gesture of a tree in Munich’s southern cemetery a bit blatant and overly dramatic but nevertheless convincing.
I vividly remember how strongly the situation of those trunks resonated with me and what a relief it was to capture that moment.
I wonder what Sigmund Freud thought about these wonderful trees when he strolled across Vienna’s Maria-Theresien-Platz. When I drew the picture of this chastised yet dignified tree I was thirsty, freezing, and my back hurt from standing still for hours. It was a perfect meditation on discipline and how we get trimmed and forged by ourselves and others.