Ghost trees

Sandra Köstler

Sandra Köstler is a visual artist working with photography, video and installations. Her work investigates the relationship between humans and space, particularly in the context of our ideas and fictions about “nature”. Her work bases on deep knowledge acquired about a certain place. She often compares her work to research, collecting individual observations, audio-visual material as well as cultural and ecological knowledge.

Ghost Trees
Ongoing since 2022, digital print on washi paper
21cm x 30cm

Ghost trees documents the trees in the Hegau area close to Konstanz. They are blighted by heat, drought and bark beetles. The monochrome images draw attention to the sick and barren “ghost trees”. Due to warmer summers and winters, as well as periods of drought that occur more often due to climate change, the trees are more susceptible to infestations of bark beetles. The images show the effect climate change is already having close to home, reminding us that it is not a distant phenomenon. By gathering the images of the “ghost trees” in their different stages, the artist is building a visual archive of contemporary forests. The presentation is still influenced by the ideal standard of untamed, deep green, dense forests. Due to the shifts that climate change is causing in forest ecosystems, romanticised images of the ideal forest aesthetic are being challenged. Does this create an urge to act faster? Or does it leave us simply mourning the deeply romanticised forests?

Foto documenting a forest fire on an island in Greece
Ghost tree, foto series showing dead trees in a forest in Germany
Ghost trees, foto of dead trees in a forest in Germany