Frottage with charcoal, cotton paper, approx. 17 m

Hamburg, 2023.
In Footprint, Elena Victoria Pastor invites us to explore moments of contact between tree bark, skin, and paper as transformative moments of connection and mutuality.

As David Abraham writes in The Spell of the Sensuous, “there is an intimate reciprocity to the senses; as we touch the bark of the tree, we feel the tree touching us; as we lend our ears to the local sound and ally our nose to the seasonal scents, the terrain gradually tunes us in turn” (1996, p. 159).

This sculptural work on paper was created using a frottage technique. Pastor used the uneven surface of oak tree bark from trees located at the intersection of Stresemannstr. and Max-Brauer-Allee in Hamburg as the underlying surface for rubbing a series of charcoal marks onto the long roll of paper, which has been installed in Frappant. The planned erection of a new Sternbrücke bridge, known as “Monster-Sternbrücke'' by local activist groups, will forever change the memory of Hamburg’s urban landscape. Up to ninety trees, mostly oaks, are slated for felling and seven adjacent historic buildings will be demolished.

In Footprint’s material entanglements of skin, surface, bark, and body, the memory of and about the trees of this site is activated in multiple modes. The work is a kind of precursory commemoration, offering a chance to consider which traces of bark, building, and bodies, and will remain, and which will disappear.

Photos: courtesy of the artist.