There’s lots to be said for getting lit like a menorah at holiday parties and stuffing one’s guts until they resemble bursting Christmas stockings. But all that overconsumption leaves us with a craving for something more: a generous helping of irony. Thank goodness for “Oh Tannenbaum!,” an annual German exhibition of clever, artistic interpretations of the iconic Christmas tree.
The first show was organized by Johannes Marmon and Johannes Müller, of Karlsruhe-based jjoo design, in 2004; this year, selected works will be on display at the Goethe Institute’s 25 branches around the world. According to the pair, the Christmas tree’s recognizable form and popularity–from Buenos Aires and Budapest to Miami to Moscow–makes it ripe for parody.
The title of the exhibition is a variation on the German carol “O Tannenbaum” (a Tannenbaum is a fir tree). Marmon and Müller explain:
The unusual spelling in the title of the exhibition–“Oh” rather than the conventional “O” Tannenbaum–is intended to convey both the range of possible reactions to the works on show–from enthusiastic approval to bemused consternation–and the equally diverse creative approaches to the chosen theme. Whether it elicits a smile of amusement, an appreciative nod or a shocked gasp, each exhibit reflects its creator’s personal vision of the Christmas tree, which may or may not correspond to the standard image of this object.
We promise that at least one of the pieces will elicit a chuckle–whether it’s the suicide tree or the ornamented beard–so enjoy!