The Chicago Tree Project

Irene Hoppenberg

Lemon Tree

Lincoln Park
1616-1636 N. Stockton Dr.

2019
I live in Berlin, Germany and came to Chicago to create Lemon Tree. Climate change is partly responsible for the Chicago Tree Project, which gives dead trees to artists to turn into sculptures. Many trees have died in this city because a warmer climate has encouraged the Emerald Ash Borer to flourish and therefore kill thousands of trees. My lemon tree, which I have created for Lincoln Park, starts to live again and bears fruit, it is a sign of hope. With the giant lemon on top, it has a surrealistic appearance.

Over the years, I have made many works with lemon sculptures and installations. My tree sculpture in Chicago is part of a series of various lemon trees which I have realized in the past. Lemons have a special meaning for me. I live in a northern country, and there, lemons are a symbol for the longing for the south, the sun and the light. My lemon tree in Lincoln Park is close to North Avenue Beach. This proximity to the beach provides a southern flair in summer and will remind people in winter of the coming spring. I hope that my tree sculpture brings joy to visitors to Lincoln Park but also serves as a visual comment how climate change could influence the natural environment and change its vegetation. The future of all living beings is the responsibility of each individual human and is defined by his actions.