Art on campus: The dead tree

Series about WUR art works.
The Wageningen tree next to Forum (detail). Photo Joaquina

You are likely to pass at least one of the many art pieces on Wageningen campus. What is it? Who made it? What does it convey? Student editor and amateur artist Maurice Schoo discusses striking works of art with WUR’s Art and Heritage conservator Joke Webbink.

It may well be the best-known sculpture on the campus, the “dead tree” near Forum. The huge, grey trunk, with the three sharp branches emerging from it that reach for the sky, is situated near the building’s north entrance. ‘The sculpture is simply called the Wageningen Tree and was gifted to the university by the University Fund on the occasion of its 90-year anniversary in 2008’, Webbink states.

The sculpture measures 13 metres and was made by sculptor Sjoerd Buisman, who is frequently inspired by nature. The tree was made by applying a casting material around a real tree, a 100-year-old oak, on the Hinkeloord grounds in Wageningen. The resulting imprint was used as a mould to cast an aluminium sculpture.

Three tree branches

The tree branches represent the university, Wageningen Research (which was DLO, Agricultural Research Service until 1998) and the Van Hall Larenstein University College’, Webbink explains. The university college was located in Forum then but has since moved.

Buisman has another sculpture located in Wageningen near what used to be the Centre for Plant Disease and is currently the location of the Dutch Food and Consumer Goods Authority along the Geertjesweg. This sculpture, called the Growing Point or Tower of Babel, consists of eleven ever-smaller rusty discs stacked from large to small.

Photo Joaquina

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