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Wood carving symposium

Not just wood chips

Deafening noise in the Cappuchin Garden of Klausen. Chips fly through the air, there is an intense smell of wood and vinegar. The nose can't decide between pleasant and unpleasant, the ears want to get away, the eyes can't stop looking at it. Chainsaws are milling into huge chestnut tree trunks that have been waiting for their destiny since the devastating storm "Vaia" in 2018. They are at least 200 years old. But at first glance, it doesn't look like art here.

But the six hooded people who are working on the chestnut wood with their chainsaws are masters of the art of wood sculpture. Among 30 applicants, they prevailed with their designs for new wood sculptures on the Chestnut Trail. "Relax on Art" was the motto of this year's competition and now they have traveled from China, Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic and various regions of Italy to realize their work of art within four days.
It doesn't look like art - at least at first glance.
Simon Rauter, the good soul of the project, bustles amidst the noise. He lends a hand when the wood is stubborn and keeps everyone in a good mood. It was Simon who had the idea in 2016 to put some art along the Chestnut Trail, which is becoming increasingly popular among hikers.

Valentino Giampaoli from Marche strokes his wooden block, which has given him a real gift with a beautiful grain in the shape of a giant eye. Looking closely to discover the natural geometry of an object is his approach. "Galileo Galilei did it that way 450 years ago." Youyu Ren, on the other hand, has sweat pouring out of every pore. Powerfully, he swings his axe. For him, wood is not a willing material; it does not reveal its secrets easily. Just like the wolf, which takes on more and more shape under his skilled hands - it bares its teeth, its fur is wild and shaggy.
The Chestnut Trail leads from Vahrn/Varna near Brixen/Bressanone along the slopes of the Eisacktal Valley to Ritten/Renon and down Bolzano/Bozen. It combines mixed forests, lush green meadows and imposing chestnut groves with spectacular views all over the trail. The sites for the artworks still have to be assigned. Simon wants to take his time for this. The elegant sculpture with glass bead elements created by Marketa Varadiova needs a light location, the wolf will surprise the hikers in the dark forest.
"Actually, the old, twisted chestnut trees are works of art in themselves" says Simon. "But with the designed sculptures, man also brings himself in, who has shaped this cultural landscape for centuries. For the South Tyroleans, these chestnut trees were and still are an elixir of life, a source of food, and origin of stories and legends. As exhibits along the Chestnut Trail, they are meant to make hikers reflect and marvel, and with the current works, also relax."

Text: Sylvia Pollex
Translation: Tourist Association Klausen, Barbian, Feldthurns, Villanders
Photos: Thomas Rötting
Pubblication: 2022
An artist at work