A city becomes greener
"7000 oaks" in Bielefeld
As part of documenta 7 (1982), Joseph Beuys (1921-86) had 7000 basalt steles delivered to the Fridericianum in Kassel and laid out in a wedge shape. He planted an oak tree at the top of the huge wedge and set one of the basalt steles into the ground next to it. This was the beginning of the large-scale project “7000 oaks. Urban forestation instead of urban administration”, which was completed five years later for documenta 8. During this period, 7,000 trees were planted, accompanied by the 7,000 stones, so that the basalt wedge on Friedrichsplatz gradually disappeared and the city’s tree population grew significantly.
To this day, the cityscape of Kassel is characterized by the specific tree-stone combinations and there are also 16 lime trees with basalt steles in front of the Kunsthalle Bielefeld. These were planted to accompany the exhibition “7000 Oaks”, which took place in the Kunsthalle in 1985. At the time, the planting was an artistic and political-ecological act and the start of a greening campaign by the city of Bielefeld, the “Green City Ring”. The trees still stand on the central reservation of Artur-Ladebeck-Straße. In Beuys’ anniversary year, they are the starting point for a documentary exhibition about a work that stands for Beuys’ frequently cited concept of social sculpture like no other.