”Hormoslyr was a herbicide that was sprayed over the Swedish forests during the 1960’s and 70’s to kill deciduous trees. In America, this chemical went under the name Agent Orange and was used in the Vietnam war. The spraying was most intensive in northern Sweden, and up to this day you can see traces of how the forest was reshaped by Hormoslyr. Instead of mixed forests with a high percentage of deciduous trees we are left with vast forests of spruce and pine.
In the forest by Lake Eggelats in Norrbotten in northern Sweden there is an old airstrip for herbicide planes. The forests around the airstrip were meticulously sprayed in the 1950’s and 60’s to eliminate birch. Today there are hardly any birch trees in the forest, only birch corpses in the moss. The drawing follows the border between the airstrip and the surrounding forest and documents everything that lies on this border. The art work is a way of visualising a border but also a way of re-locating a place through the act of drawing. Through this work I want to draw attention to a forgotten history that up to this day has large effects on the landscape.”
Gerd Aurell is a visual artist and senior lecturer at the Umeå Art Academy. In her artistic practice she often works in different forms of drawing, with a special focus on drawing as a performative action.