“Don’t call me an artist” (> Nenn’ mich nicht Künstler), is the title of his autobiography, which is well worth reading. Ben Wagin saw himself as a craftsman. Someone who does something with his hands. And so he did. He became a carpenter, later a gallery owner, then a tireless environmental activist, tree sponsor, ginkgo lover and action artist, who for decades worked for the preservation of and reconciliation with nature, as well as a respectful and affectionate treatment of it. Now he, who did not want to be an artist, but nevertheless left behind a life’s work, Ben Wargin, born in 1930, who decided to drop the “r” from his birth name because he did not want to carry war in his name, who traditionally celebrated his procreation day on 21 June instead of his birthday on 25 March, has died in Berlin on 28 July 2021.
Wagin created numerous extraordinary places of art and remembrance in Berlin and far beyond. In his central work, the “Parliament of Trees against War and Violence”, a piece of the Wall strip planted with trees in 1990 on his initiative in the middle of Berlin’s government quarter, he challenged the traditional concept of a monument. As early as the winter of 1961, Ben Wagin and a number of other artists took part in a sculpture symposium in Tiergarten, which addressed the brutal demarcation of the Berlin Wall as the first artistic confrontation. On 9 November 1990, he erected the memorial “Parliament of Trees against War and Violence” on the empty …
Read the article about Ben Wagin further onf DEEDS.NEWS.
Image caption: Ben Wagin on his 85th day of procreation, 21 June 2014, Photo: ART@Berlin