Just as a line is a tracing of a point, a plane the tracing of a line and a space the tracing of a plane, a phenomenon in space is the tracing of time. Time appears to be in motion, because we are hardly able to experience the past, present and future as a continuum.
The American choreographer Loïe Fuller (1862-1928) became world-renowned for introducing a revolutionary dance. In the so called Serpentine dance, she produced an image on stage which was non-representational – instead of showing the dancer “dance”, she conjured up the tracing of the kinetic energy which the body instigates, just as a draughtsman, when he puts a point in motion to create a line.
In Trace, Hansdóttir not only alludes to Fuller’s ideas, but equally to the Lumière brothers movie clip of her Serpentine dance, in her own research on how energy disperses movement in time and space.
Hansdóttir has divided the exhibition space with an accordion wall. In the front, she exhibits photographs which reveal a certain motion in time. What the images have in common is how they reveal the eternal flux of a metamorphosing form, which otherwise (without the motions of the body) would simply remain static.
Mirrors on the leporello wall divide the viewers movements into separate and distinct moments as they walk past, as in a film. A 16mm film is projected through the wall, by means of two mirrors that transport the image from the front to the rear space, creating a reference to the subject’s journey in the filming process, when the viewer is allowed to see in one place that which has happened in another.
The film is the starting point of Hansdóttir’s investigation, the accompanying sound, the wall and the photographs being either part of the process or its aftermath. In actual fact, it is the traces themselves which the process as a whole has left behind in time and space, which is of prime importance, whether it be from a body, machine or a light source.
Elín Hansdóttir (b. 1980) lives and works in Berlin. Her work is often based on spare architectural elements creating self-contained worlds that seem to operate under their own set of rules. Elín has made numerous site-specific installations for exhibitions such as Art against Architecture, National Gallery of Iceland; The International Lightbiennale, Ruhr, Germany; Rethink the Implicit, Den Frie Udstillingsbygning, Copenhagen and for Frieze Projects, London 2007.