Giambattista Vico, the great Neapolitan thinker of the XVIII century said that when humans became sedentary, they brought down trees in order to make clearings in the forests and grow a new tree there: The Family Tree. This dramatic image acknowledges the existence of a strong tension established between humans and trees, ancient in the history of humanity, which forced human life to duel against the forests. In this way, making a clearing in the forest meant, at certain moments in the history of humanity, a kind of triumph over nature, over what is savage, over the wilderness, over the unknown. In clearing the land, it was made possible for humans to see the sky, and, in this way, encounter the gods.
Today, this clearing in the forest has become a stain that dangerously and painfully spreads across the Earth day after day; a part of humanity we would like to think is growing, fights to break this primal duel to the death with the forest.
It is there, tracing back to a possible setting in which science and mythical narration do not oppose, that Maria Elvira Escallón makes this encounter between notable beings possible. This is a place inhabited by composed and symbiotic beings. Escallón chooses to notice, instead of unsavable differences, an enormous amount of characteristics that single out similarities, and thus, kinship between Tree and human, human and tree.
In these mythical settings located in some past/present, and in modeling clay or working with water, dust, video, photography, and time, Escallón makes the gods descend upon earth, reversing the clearing. In this space of matter, of what is existent, of what is alive, diverse existences are understood. It is there that the reunion with the tree occurs.
Ana María Lozano