The "Embassy of Trees" brings nature back into the city and gives the trees a voice. It is a project of the artist Ellen Bornkessel. The "message of the trees" is an appeal for us to reconcile with nature, to be protective of the climate, to integrate nature into the cities and to plant more trees now. Ellen Bornkessel brings large-scale prints of trees into the city on building fences and scaffolding. The photographs convey the beauty of nature and reaffirm our connation with it. The trees stand for the hope that in the future living things will receive their due respect. The artwork is complemented by lectures and performances.
Open space is becoming a very rare commodity in our cities. There is no accommodation made for lush, wildly proliferating nature. My tree and forest photos show paradise-like nature and are reminiscent of its wildness, power and beauty.
I want to bring the trees into the city.
To give the trees a voice, I created the "Embassy of Trees". Like any diplomatic mission, it seeks and to develop and maintain the connection between two worlds and like any other embassy, acts as a representative- in this case for the trees in the city. "Embassy of Trees brings life-size prints of trees into the city on building fences and scaffolding. Reminding us of nature’s beauty and our connection with it.
It's about reconciliation between people and nature. The "Embassy of Trees" calls us to show our solidarity with nature. The forest is not just our green lung. Trees calm our souls and are living organisms.
The "Embassy of Trees" appeals to us to work for the climate and nature conservation, to integrate nature in our city and to plant more trees now. Trees stand for the hope in a future in which life will receive more respect.
As an artist, I want to make a statement and contribute to the preservation of nature. The magic and beauty of nature that returns to the city with "Embassy of Trees" is also a call for more life, variety and beauty in our lives.
The "Embassy of Trees" installation is accompanies by a series of talks on urban greening and the relevance of forests for our climate. Seedlings will be given to passers-by during performances. Even plants on a balcony influence the microclimate and biodiversity in our city- they too give nature a voice.
The artist Ellen Bornkessel brings nature back into the city with the "Embassy of Trees". Her large format photographs of trees will be in front of Cologne Cathedral from the 7th to the 21st of February. They are an impressive reminder that only a green city is worth living in.
Our cities are growing. Space is becoming a scarce asset. Economic interests are contesting with people's need for peace and clean air. Ellen Bornkessel gives the trees their own voice in tense atmosphere. In her current installation in front of the Cologne Cathedral, she juxtaposes life-size pictures of tree scenes attached to fences. Visitors stroll pass the images as if they were strolling through the forest. Looking at the photographs unfolds the magic and aesthetics of nature. In the middle of the bustling city centre, they have a calming and liberating effect. People need nature- even in the city and especially there.
The installation, "Embassy of Trees", is the start of a project which includes, lectures and performances. Like any diplomatic mission, the "Embassy of Trees" seeks to build and develop a relationship between two worlds; here between city and forest. Bornkessel explains: "As an artist, I would like make a clear statement, that is why I created the " Embassy of Trees". It appeals to us humans to reconcile with nature, to campaign for climate protection and to plant trees. The beauty of nature returns to the city with this project, it is also a plea for more liveliness, diversity and beauty in our lives.
Through the support of the Metropolitan Chapter of the Hohen Domkirche zu Köln, as well as the Dombauhütte , it became possible to use the Cathedral forecourt as an exhibition venue. This is a meaningful constellation, because the institution church has dedicated itself, as has the "Embassy of Trees" to the preservation of the creation. The "Embassy of Trees", joins the cathedral on its site which is preserved as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and must be preserved for posterity. On top of that, its pillars- just like trees, symbolize the connection between heaven and earth, the aspiration for all things earthly.
The installation is free. On the 12th of April, seedlings will be given away to passers-by during a performance on the square in front of the cathedral. Afterwards there will be a talk on the topic in the cathedral forum.
"Embassy of Trees" evolved through work on the photographic series "Tree Winter". The whole scene was immersed in a beautiful winter light and at the same time it stank of exhaust fumes. This paradisiacal world was sinking in the smog. That was the moment when I realised something had to done. Talking to Eva Wild, the director of the Rainforest Art Foundation Europe, the idea arose of showing the trees on fences and bringing them to the public.
We are living in extreme times- species are becoming extinct at an alarming rate and major climate problems are approaching us. The world is getting emptier. We pay a heavy price for the material goods we receive in return for the destruction of our planet.
Our world is at a point where we have no time left for discussion- it’s time for action. The "Embassy of Trees" appeals to us to plant trees and show solidarity with nature.
With artistic means, lectures and the gift of seedlings, I want to make our cities greener again. Part of proceeds from the sales of photos will go to OroVerde for their reforesting programs.
My photographs often convey unreal, enchanted moods. I am interested in the parallel worlds that exist alongside a profit-oriented, optimised society and that develop their own magic and power. Nature itself, increasingly banished from the cities, has become a parallel world, even though we humans are part of it. Nature often seems paradise-like to me. I would like to bring some of this power back into the world through my photography.
My photgraphic work: www.ellen-bornkessel.com
born in Hammelburg, Germany
1995-1997 Visual Arts, University of Applied Sciences, Bielefeld
1997-2001 Academy of Visual Arts,HGB Leipzig, Class of Prof. Brohm , Photography
Class of Prof. D Ùrbano, Mediaarts, Diploma
2001-2002 Masterclass of Prof. D Urbano
2014- 2016 lecturer in photography, HMKW, University of Applied Sciences, Cologne
Member German Photographic Association
lives and works in Cologne, Germany
2018 "Embassy of Trees" Installation, Cologne Cathedral
2018 "Embassy of Trees" Installation, Cologne City Hall
2018 "Embassy of Trees" Michael Horbach Stiftung, Cologne
2013 „play“, Ruhr Museum, Unesco world heritage Zollverein, Germany
2010 „Easy Beauty“, Gallery Loris, Berlin
2009 „Night“, Dance-Videoperformance with pretty ugly dance, Arkadas , Cologne, Germany
2009 „The StandingStills“, Gallery Loris, Berlin
2009 „play“ Moltkerei, Cologne, Germany
2008 „play“ Gallery Loris, Berlin
Exhibitions and Screenings (Selection)
2017 Stadt-Landschaften, in focus Gallery, Cologne, Germany
2016 Begira Photofestival, Museo de Arte e Historia, Durango (Bizkaia), Spain
2012 „Photographs from Elsewhere“ at fotofreo Foto Biennale Perth, Australia
2011 „diamonds and pearls“, Gallery Loris, Berlin
2011 „The Best of all possible Worlds“, Carpe Diem Art Space, Lissabon
2009 „Together in Movement“ Contemporary Art from China and Germany,Museum of Arts, Wuhan, China (Catalogue)
2008 „1:1“, Gallery Loris Berlin, Month of Photography (Catalogue)
2008 „Loop 08“, VideoArtFair, Barcelona
2007 „they rule the Valley“, Gallery Loris, Berlin
2006 „Pulsar“, Mediaartsfestival, Caracas Venezuela
2005 Recontres Internationales Paris /Berlin, Centre Culturel Suedois, Paris, France (Catalogue)
2005 „Pulsar“ at Museum of modern Art, Cali, Kolumbia
2004 Festival International De Filmes De Femmes, Creteil, France
2004 Sydney Film Festival, Sydney, Australia
2003 ArtFilmBiennale, Museum Ludwig, Cologne (Catalogue)
2003 International Munich Filmweek, Munich, Germany (Catalogue)
2003 „Musterwelt“, halle für kunst, Lüneburg, Germany
2003 „radiator 2“, Nottingham, England
2002 „Arsenal“, Wandelhalle, Cologne (Catalogue)
2002 19. Kasseler Dokumentarfilm- und Videofest (Catalogue)
2002 Praterfernsehen, Volksbühne Berlin, Germany
2001 VideoEvento d Àrte, International Academy of Arts and Media, Turin
2001 „natural_mente“, Museum of natural Science, Leipzig, Germany (Catalogue)
2000 artKino, Art Frankfurt, Frankfurt, Germany (Catalogue)
Funding and Awards
2013 Zollverein Foundation, exhibition and catalogue funding
2009 Goethe Institute in Peking, support with travel expenses
2009 Exhibition sponsorship from the Cultural Office of Cologne
2004 Scholarship from European Union, Triangle project
Gründerin und Botschafterin "Embassy of Trees" :
Ellen Bornkessel, firstname.lastname@example.org, Atelier: Sechzigstr. 32, 50733 Köln, 0179-6777517
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