Sculptures, plaster
60 x 70 x 20 cm each

Photos ©Angyvir Padilla
“In 2013 I live next to Brussels North train station, which is near the ‘red’ area of the city. I was located closer to Rogier, a more calmed area. However my street was the only one in the block inhabited by female and transsexual prostitutes”.
I felt a strong curiosity about the life of these women, perhaps because in Caracas I grew up in an area that was also close to an avenue where prostitutes hanged out, or perhaps just because they were the most common people that were in the neighborhood. My roommates and
I saw them in the supermarket, in the laundry shop, at the Chinese restaurant, in local bars… and it made me wonder what was their life like when they were not hanging out around my building. Slowly, and for no apparent reason, a great empathy towards these girls started to grow within me.
Close to Christmas time of that same year, I had an impulse to propose an exchange with one of them: my pillow, an object of little personal value, for hers. The idea to exchange intimacies with a stranger that in my daily life exposes part of her intimacy seemed like a fair trade to me. I wanted to share an expose part of my own intimacy as well.
After several attempts, finally I met Paola. She was a very short woman, always smiling, with sort of aboriginal features. Her accent was familiar to me. She was Colombian.
At first she thought my proposal was somewhat absurd but after a couple of cigarettes she was somewhat excited. In the end she agreed to give me her pillow, without anything in return not even my pillow. She said she would leave it in a black plastic bag in front of my building the following night.
Several weeks later of the symbolic exchange, I found a pink leaf plant that reminded me a lot o Paola and I wanted to give it to her as gift. For days I looked for her, up and down the street and out my window but I never saw her again. That same year I moved out of Rogier and named the plant Paola.
What came out of this exchange is the work titled “Sehnsucht: nostalgia y deseo”. (“Sehnsucht: nostalgia and desire”). It consists of two negative forms of Paola’s pillow made out of plaster that are a sort of footprint
of her pillow, divided in two parts. Together they are a double-portrait that exposes her intimacy as well as our secret. It is a mirror image of both of us that also reflects the story of our encounter.

Angyvir Padilla