Beuys’ Acorns

Exhibitions 2007 - 2018

The Lark Descending
Surrey Unearthed
10 – 27 May 2018
St Martins Walk, Dorking
Curated by Alison Clarke

Dendromorphies Créer Avec L’Arbre
Topographie de L’Art
26 November 2016 – 11 January 2017
Curated by Paul Ardenne

Royal Academy Summer Exhibition 2016
Royal Academy of Arts
Prints available in the edition direct from the artist: Enquire
More info

7000 oaks / 7000 chenes
La Maréchalerie, Versailles
27 June – 12 July 2014
Curated by Lucy + Jorge Orta
More info
Interview (3.10)

Changing Landscapes
Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts
9 March – 28 July 2013

Public outreach | Considering Landscapes
22 March 2013
6 June 2013
Discussion about issues arising from Beuys’ Acorns

Festival of the World
Southbank Centre, London
1 June – 9 September 2012
Public Address – 25 June 2012
Ackroyd & Harvey will be giving a public address as part of the Festival of the World Summit: Art Will Change The World.
In-conversation – 8 July 2012
A series of ‘in-conversations’ between the artists and invited guests.

Earth: Art of a changing world
The Royal Academy of Arts, London
3 December 2009 – 31 January 2010

Beuys’ Acorns is made possible by the support of:
Willerby Landcsapes
Kristina Borjesson
Barcham Trees
Ockley Court Nurseries
UCL Environment Institute

In 2007, we gathered and germinated hundreds of acorns from renowned artist Joseph Beuys’s seminal artwork 7000 Oaks in Germany, and in doing so began a new open-ended research project

In 1982, Joseph Beuys, a leading artist of the 20th century, declared that all cities and towns should become ‘forest-like’, and that art must be a social force for change connected to lives of individuals and communities. He cites French author Jean Giono’s classic fable The Man Who Planted Trees as the source of inspiration for his world-renowned artwork 7000 Oaks. Beuys planted the first tree in 1982 to inaugurate the opening of documenta 7; his son planted the last tree in 1987 a year after Beuys died. In the late autumn of 2007, we took a train to Kassel, Germany with the sole aim of collecting hundreds of acorns from Joseph Beuys’ seminal artwork – seven thousand trees planted throughout the city, each individual tree signed with a volcanic stone marker.

To date have around 200 surviving oak saplings. Under the title Beuys’ Acorns the young trees have acted as both artwork and catalyst for a public research process carried out in galleries and exhibitions across the UK. Beuys’ Acorns has been exhibited at the Centre for Urban Built Environment (CUBE), Manchester; Royal Academy of Arts, London; Southbank Centre, London; Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, Norwich; La Maréchalerie, Versailles, France 2014 and in 2015 completed a six city tour throughout France to coincide in November with the United Nations Conference of All Parties on Climate Change (COP21).

From 2009 – 2015, each exhibition of Beuys’ Acorns has included a series of public ‘conversations’ with invited guests from the fields of science, literature, law, art, architecture, politics and economics. Over 50 speakers have been party to our open-ended research process where underpinning the discussions is an analysis of the cultural, biological and environmental significance of trees in a rapidly urbanizing world. Key presentations have included Sculpting Our History, Nobel Laureate Symposium on Climate Change 2009; Beuys Is Here, De la Warr Pavilion; 100DAYS Art and Activism, Arnolfini, Bristol; Radical Natures, Barbican; Poison and Antidote, Whitechapel Gallery; Tipping Point, Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford; World Forum 2011, Smith School, Oxford; Planet Under Pressure, Royal Society, Excel Centre, London.

Watch film from EARTH at the Royal Academy
Watch film from Euromaxx
Read interview on This Is Tomorrow