Asphalt – Tattoos (english)

The idea of disappearing and reappearing, the visible and the hidden which I have long explored in my pictures, wall installations and paper work has for the first time been realised in an open area or rather on road asphalt.

The asphalt ground of our cities is a surface which surrounds us to a large extent and where our eye often falls when walking.  Pavements are surprisingly drear and boring.

My idea is to create  patterns on parts of the city’s asphalt.  This is done by sand blasting the asphalt with the help of a stencil.  The grey underground of the asphalt always shines through and becomes an important part of the composition.

By observing or when walking over it one is reminded of laid out carpets, antique mosaics or actual shadows of plants and trees.

Asphalt changes its appearance with the weather.

When it is wet it reflects the sky, when it is damp it becomes dark, dries blotchy and when completely dry it is light and a little dusty.

When the asphalt is sand blasted a different shade of grey to the untreated part of the ground is produced thus making the pattern visible.  When the ground is moist the pattern disappears almost completely, when it dries it becomes visible again.

This temporary change in the open area is also in direct relationship to the use of the city by its inhabitants.

In certain strongly frequented places the pattern will not last so long as in places that are less used – thus giving us a fragmentary picture of the paths of the people in the city.

The “shadow tattoos” entwine a city’s history, character and atmosphere.   Patterns and ornamental forms are chosen in reference to each idiosyncrasy and reality of a place which then interplay with existing shadows to awake a new form of seeing. Their unexpected appearance is meant to direct the view towards the ground, change accustomed perceptions and open up a dialogue process.

Andrea Bischof