Tree of Life


Ernst Gamperl
“Dialogue with Wood”

Exhibition at the
Gewerbemuseum Winterthur
26 May – 3rd November 2019

2020 Korean Craft Museum 집들이; 공예 _ HOUSE OF CRAFT
“Special Exhibition Ernst Gamperl”

Exhibition at Korean Craft Museum
24 April – 21st June 2020

Tree of Life – a ten-year project

Ernst Gamperl’s largest and most significant project to date began in 2008, when a mighty 230-year-old oak was uprooted by a hurricane. But this rare treasure was destined to find a whole new lease of life.

The sheer size of the tree made it unsuitable for standardized workflows, presenting Ernst Gamperl with a new set of challenges.
The trunk segments, which weighed in at around 24 tonnes and whose diameters ranged up to 2.7 metres, could only be salvaged by heavy-duty cranes, meaning that the initial pre-cutting work had to be carried out on location.

The workshop was fully expanded in the course of two years and new lathes were built at great trouble and expense.

But the practical matter of preparing the workshop for this colossus was not the only challenge. It was also a case of finding the right approach – about applying the visual intuition required to identify the vessels already present in the tree at the initial cutting stage. It was about striking an artistic balance between creating harmoniously proportioned objects from oak, Gamperl’s favourite wood, and entering into a new dimension without straying into the realm of gargantuan proportions. Gamperl garnered the 2017 LOEWE Craft Prize for an object from the Tree of Life collection, gaining motivation and impetus for this long-term project.

However, the basic idea of only exhibiting the objects created from this tree in their entirety once it had been fully transformed into vessels and sculptures, remained. The large-scale exhibition at the Gewerbemuseum Winterthur marks the beginning of this phase.
The final objects have been presented at the book launch in September 2019, following which the pieces will travel on together to other exhibition venues.

Special edition

A limited special edition comprising 30 exclusive and unique objects from the “Tree of Life” were be on sale during the “Ernst Gamperl – Dialogue with Wood” exhibition at the Gewerbemuseum Winterthur.

We want to thank all those who have supported the realization of the book “Ernst Gamperl – Zwiesprache” (Ernst Gamperl – Dialogues) by buying an object of the limited edition!

Books can be ordered by email.