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7000 OAKS

Joseph Beuys, documenta 7, 1982

The work of art "7000 Oaks Project" or "City Forestation instead of City Administration Campaign" was carried out by the artist and art professor Joseph Beuys.  The first tree with a basalt block for d7 was planted right in front of the museum. The last tree to be planted was also placed here, seven metres away from the first, for d8 by the wife of Joseph Beuys, as the artist had died on 23rd January 1986.

Right in front of the Fridericianum museum, 7,000 large basalt blocks were unloaded, in the middle of Friedrichsplatz! This initially caused quite a stir amongst the citizens of Kassel, until it finally became common knowledge what Joseph Beuys aimed to achieve with this campaign: from documenta 7 (1982) until documenta 8 (1987), each of these basalt blocks was gradually removed, but only whenever someone declared themselves to be willing to bear the costs for the planting of a tree (500 DM including transport, stone and care) through a so-called "tree sponsorship". By documenta 8, 7000 new trees were planted in Kassel. Admittedly not only oaks, but a variety of trees, due to the divergence in the cityscape. 
The trees of this environmental - artistic campaign can be recognised by the basalt block standing next to them.

Joseph Beuys was known for his environmental appeals and his social commitment. The artist born in 1921 inKleveexhibited his works from documenta 3 to documenta 7 and was thus represented five times at a documenta.

In the history of documenta, the "7000 Oaks" campaign is the only work so far that connects two documenta exhibitions with one another. The project which was initially rejected by the population of Kassel was vindicated by receiving an award in the landscape competition "Environmental Renewal of our Cities and Communities" in 1987/88 from the Hesse Ministry of the Interior. With this work, which has now completely merged into the cityscape, the artist Joseph Beuys put the "extended concept of art" developed by him into practice more consistently than ever before. To this day, the 7000 Oaks can be found everywhere in the city of Kassel.

 
 

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