Enea Tree Museum, Another Vision on Outdoor Sculpture
In entering Enea Gardens, an hour away south of Zurich, you will be greated by works of art by such artists as Sergio Tappa, Richard Deacon, Marc Quinn or Richard Erdman, but the magnificent sculptures are the trees themselves.
Enzo Enea, an internationally renowned landscape architect based in Miami, USA, and Rapperswill-Jona, Switzerland, presents here a Tree Museum.
As in the best museums, the director, Mr. Enea in this case, assembled the jewels of his magical collection. He explains: “Over the years I’ve collected many old and beautiful trees that would have been cut down to provide space for buildings”.
In a curatorial manner, Enea installed outdoor “museum walls” built from large blocks of limestone, giving the garden simultaneously an archeological dimension, a modernist architectural tone and a theatrical atmosphere. Each tree is set against one of those backdrops, to each year conquer a little more the walls with their astonishing foliage. Each season bringing a new performance. On the autumn day we visited, we were lucky to witness the immense beauty left by the core of the trees’ naked bodies with their glorious robe at their feet.
Each tree comes with its story. Its fact sheet. Assembled together for the viewer to consider them as sculptures as well as performing artists.
Enea’s interest in trees and landscaping came from his father, who made and sold terracotta and stone pots for gardens. Having kept most of the beautiful potteries from his father’s collection, Enea has included them in his museum.
Often confronted with clients who wanted to discard old trees, Enea decided to “save” them. He would have the old tree transported to his nursery in Switzerland. Sometimes with the help of helicopters when the trees were too high to pass under bridges or too wide to fit on a truck. Once back at the nursery, he would wrap each branch with a bandage like a wounded soldier and pamper it back to their new environment and new climate. The trees are all native to the region. From that emerged the idea of a museum for these ancient trees.
As in a laboratory, he experimented to learn how far he could cut back the roots, the branches, not only to facilitate transportation but also to see how trees could readapt in new environments. Working a lot in megapolises such as Sao Paolo, Brazil or several Chinese cities, he is looking to reintroduce trees on skyscraper rooftops as a way to deal with urban pollution.
But here, on the edge of the Zurich lake, at the foothills of the Alps, in the fresh air of Switzerland, Enzo Enea has “curated” his exhibition. Putting forth primarily the
artistic beauty of trees where maturity and age offers us their imposing stature.
Enea Tree Museum
March to October
Monday – Friday, 9 AM – 6 PM
Saturday, 10 AM – 5 PM
November to February
Monday – Friday, 9 AM – 5:30 PM
Saturday, 10 AM – 4 PM
Closed on Sundays, public holidays and from December 24th through January 31st.
Adults: CHF 15.00 ($ 15.50 / 14,50 euros)
Groups (from 10 persons) and students with ID: CHF 12.00 ($ 12.50 / 11,50 euros)
Guided tours on request