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The 1980s are a decade of contradictions: punks and yuppies, leather jackets and shoulder pads. The political party of »The Greens« was founded in 1980, only two years before Helmut Kohl becomes Federal Chancellor and calls for a libertarian conservative »mental and moral renewal«. Soap operas such as »Dallas« or the German »Schwarzwaldklinik« flicker over the TV screens, and children's rooms are populated by the »Smurfs«. At the same time, people fear atomic warfare, acid rain and forest dieback, global disaster.

Günter Grass deals with the prevailing apocalyptic mood of the early decade in his novel »The Rat«. The threat of forest loss had already before been a major concern to him: Together with the film director Volker Schlöndorff, he develops a script for a silent movie about forest dieback. The movie is never realized. Along with other human-made environmental disasters, however, the topic enters into the narrative of the ultimate atomic self-destruction of humanity.

The exhibition »Into the Trees« links back from today to the 1980s. It highlights the significance of the forest for the works of the writer, painter, and sculptor Günter Grass, to whom the loss of the forest meant foremost the loss of culture. The exhibition also inquires into our own relationship with the forest, which many people have only recently in the pandemic rediscovered as a retreat, a recreational oasis, or a hideout for forbidden clandestine meetings.

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