Unlike in the U.S., where it is forbidden by law, in Europe it’s not rare to see a man standing to pee at the side of the road, or even at a tree in the city. Less common but not unheard of is a woman hovering behind bushes with her pants down. Some might wonder what the flora has to say about all that. The artist Friedrich Karl Waechter surely considered this when he created his piece Pinkelbaum, or Peeing Tree.
As part of the Frankfurt art initiative Komische Kunst (Funny Art), the artwork is installed in an old maple tree. A plaque near the tree reads (translated from German): “For 300 years I was pissed at, starting today I piss back.”
Just walking towards it, the tree looks very innocent, but once you get closer, there it is: the passerby is hit by a stream of “pee.” Most people, after recovering from the shock, find it quite funny.
The tree is located at the side of the way around the little lake Jacobiweiher, near the Oberschweinstiege, one of Frankfurt’s nature areas. The pee stream breaks only in winter for a short time. The Pinkelbaum is still there, but it does not pee, to prevent damage by frost.