Berlin (dpa) – Berlin-based action artist Ben Wagin died on Wednesday at the age of 91, as announced by his association sponsors the tree and spokesperson for State Minister for Culture Monika Grütters.
Wagin is known for his installation “Parliament of Trees”, which commemorates the victims of the Berlin Wall in the government quarter and aims to call for peace.
“The death of my friend Ben Wagin makes me very sad,” CDU politician Grütters said. Wagin was “the greatest and the best godfather of trees” and a wonderful role model for the protection of nature and the environment. Many of his actions are not only a call for respectful treatment of nature, “but also calls for peace and reconciliation”.
In the spring, Wagin was photographed planting a silver maple with soil in his hands. The artist, born in 1930 in present-day Poland, has lived in Berlin since the 1950s. For decades he has been concerned with nature and also with the division of Germany. In 1990, the “Parliament of Trees” was created. The names of the victims of the GDR border regime are engraved on granite slabs.
He showed great perseverance in his projects. It is only thanks to “the boundless obstinacy, to its stubborn radicalism as well as to its great emotivity” that the “Parliament of trees” has been preserved against all political and economic wills, declared the director of the Foundation of the Berlin Wall, Axel Klausmeier. .
“Annoying phone calls and confusing initially but still profound statements were the medium of her choice,” Klausmeier wrote. “Ben, the horror of any administration and an enemy of institutional thought, was a gentle catcher of humans who seduced people to himself and his concerns with his natural charm and sometimes harsh cordiality.”
The foundation announced that the future of “parliament” was institutionally secure. But it is now just as important to secure the other places where Wagin lives and acts in the long term – the garden of the Anhalter Bahnhof as well as his workshop.
Wagin also tinkered with an installation from files – and showed the wall like a bureaucratic monster. Or he sowed sunflowers. With his tree sponsorship association, he campaigns for a new approach to nature. “Ben Wagin died as he lived: lively, courageous, joyful,” the association wrote in a message. “With yourself, life and death in peace, for everything stays in cycle – so do.”