The late Nineteenth Century, American built, Palais Equitable, has a complex history that embodies the Mythical Center of Vienna, Austria. The presence of a nail-tree talisman (aka ‘Der Stock im Eisen’)—Vienna’s oldest landmark from the Middle Ages—is located in one of its exterior corners.
One of the reliefs on the door of the Palais Equitable illustrating the legend of the Nail–Tree Talisman / 'Stock im Eisen.'
My 4 month–long ritual at dawn making frottages of the building's footprint, or rather, Vienna's Mythical Center.
The process of frottage using red carbon paper. Even the police came to watch.
An image of the Palais Equitable's Floor Plan. I'd always start where I left off the previous day. For clarity, I worked outside the building.
Towards the end of the 19th Century, the Equitable Life Assurance Society of the United States was the most successful in the world.
LEFT Photo: The headquarters of the 'Equitable Life Building' in New York City was completed in 1870.
RIGHT Photo: The address of the Palais Equitable Building in Vienna belongs to the most exclusive ones in all of Austria. It was completed for the American Company in 1891.
During the frottage process, paper was always placed horizontally along the building’s footprint. The upper half of the paper would receive the rubbed impression of exterior architectural details while its bottom half would receive the rubbed impression from the corresponding ground.
How Do You Restructure Form? No. 13, 2020
Red carbon paper frottage on Silberburg B. Handmade paper, acrylic, ink and gum arabic
38” x 25”

Photo Documentation by Leonhard Hilzensauer
I bought various papers like Silberburg B. Handmade Paper, Hahnemühle, Japanese Rice Papers just before the first Lockdown in March 2020.
Studio shot during the 2020 Q21 Art Residency in the Museumsquartier in Vienna.
Inspired by the healing properties of Citrine and its color.
Candle on a single frottage of Silberburg Handmade Paper. It is the color I would use throughout the works—a light lime–yellow abstract color shape is seen in most of the frottage backgrounds.
Tumeric used for its healing properties
Citrine colored acrylic finds its way into most of the centers as an abstract shape.
Work in Progress in the 'Q21 Artist in Residency' Studio, Vienna, Austria
I became curious how I could layer the frottages and then how I could manipulate the red carbon lines once I was in the studio again.
A few weeks into the project, I began using espresso to stain the rice paper to give it an aged look like that of Indian Tantric Drawings.
Each time I would visit the building, I would continue working on the piece in the studio.
Each time I would make a frottage of the footprint, I would number and date it. Some works on paper have up to five or six layered frottages/ numbers.
Open Studio at the end of my Q21 Art Residency in 2020.
How Do You Restructure Form? Nos. 33, 43, 68 + 69
Layered red carbon frottages on Silberburg Handmade Paper transformed with mixed media
38" x 25"
Photo Credit: Leonhard Hilzensauer, Vienna, Austria
65 Works on Paper consisting of 192 frottages from the entire footprint of the Palais Equitable. Last day in the big studio from Q21 in the Museumsquartier, Vienna, Austria, 2020.