Forest fire

The weekend of the 5th and 6th of October 2019 was an intense period spent moving between the burnt trees of the Maials area of the Ribera d’Ebre region of Catalunya, one of the affected areas of the forest fire in June of this year.

Leaving my footprints within the deep ash floor, trying not to disturb the natural forms any more than had already been altered by the fire itself.

I had already created multiple fig leaf impressions in plaster, over 200 in total produced in the weeks preceding the installation, with a view to being playful with them in an immediate sense, almost a carpeting of the ash floor. The fig symbolising the capacity to survive.

However, the more hours spent within the forest, my response to what had survived was overwhelming. A metal cage which supported a plastic water container, in place to offer wild animals a much needed drink, had survived the fire. This cage offered me some sort of protection and reassurance, I had to connect with it physically which led to a series of performances to camera using my body to interact with the cage itself and the ash covered floor.

I then collected as many lose burnt branches in the local area and began stacking them in the metal cage, creating some sort of defense line behind which I could place my body.

The act of collecting these branches was in effect a cleaning ritual of the forest floor but was futile as the area was due for forest management clearing in order to prevent further fire.

The time spent in the forest was all consuming. The visual palette of greys and blacks, only the bright blue sky offered some relief. The fig leaves were a crisp, white, clinical offering to this place. However, with every movement and gust of wind, the ash soon filled the leaf veins creating a more beautiful nuanced surface. As if the leaves required this material to show them in their true beauty.

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