A fresh insight into my most recent work from my Swiss exile. Reflecting on pandemic shelter. Working with the negative slides refreshes my memories of the summer in the Alps living in a Swiss castle. The poetic times are obvious gone, shelter and isolation is about to visit again. The analogue photography completes my works of paper clothes and taxidermic sculptures. Starting the project in March with Max Frisch‘s „Man in the Holocene“ I would like to finalize with a poem: In die Mulde meiner Stummheit leg ein Wort und zieh Wälder groß zu beiden Seiten, daß mein Mund ganz im Schatten liegt. Ingeborg Bachmann, 1953
Remembering Shanghai at the Swatch Peace Art Hotel I also think of all these interesting artists from all over the world which I met. Han Feng, a gifted painter who has also designed a collection watch for Swatch in 2019 was one of them. Our portrait session turned out quite well and this week I processed some old negative slides I never considered before. Hope you like the result. Yu Jidong 于继东 was another artist I learned to appriciate at the residency in Shanghai. Very humble, he introduced me to his family and his lovely daughter was a big help for my own art work research. And of course Soyung, a Korean artist which became a close friend of mine.
The Winter in Estonia was quite remarkable. My photographic work and exhibition worked out great. I was invited to a traditional wedding by one of my new friends where I danced for the first time in years. People were nice and warmhearted, maybe comes with the cold weather and the snow.
The photographic settings in Tallin, Estonia were one of a kind. For sure I had to improvise a lot, as the residency was one of the shorter ones with a duration of two month. At this occasion I was not so much into creating garments out of paper as the possibilities were quite limited. On the other side I could show some first prints at the exhibition in the end of my second Baltic residency.
Working again on the analoge slides from Iran. It was a most alienating experience and as a matter of fact a very nice and warm one too. I was the last artist who got the chance to get a funded residency at the Austrian embassy in Tehran in 2016. After that it was closed for good and the regime became even more restrictive towards foreigners and local artists. Since then is very hard to get into the country as foreign artist and work there at a residency.
In Onishi I had the possibility to show the garments I made not only through an exhibition. Being blessed with such wonderful friends, who also can pose as such elegant models, I was able to present my garments in their best light. On the long shot this is the first step to develop a performance on stage, which will be shown in Japan in 2021.
The experience in Daegu was shared with some Korean artists who also happened to share a residency space at that very same moment. And then I was lucky enough to team up with Adam a very gifted visual artist from Ireland. Under all the circumstances which some times made it not always easy for me as a foreign woman in Korea, Adam was my rock I always could hold on. The portrait sessions had some kind of special twist as I happened to create also transcultural garments which referred to Japanese and Korean history and methods of expression. This cultural crossover was quite delicate and not easy to handle as some tensions seem to be still unsolved.
Solothurn, Switzerland was my first long lasting residency in Europe and believe it or not my first actual stay in this country despite it is neighbouring my homeland. In generally we speak the same language but in detail we differ a lot. Due to my own dialect I was soon able to understand most of the conversations, which was a main part to get closer to some locals and befriend them. To work with strangers who also happen to be not professionals models needs a lot of trust and confidence on both sides of the lens. In Switzerland I could built up this trust and create even some nude shots, which are not on display in the internet. The analogue photo portraits were not part of the exhibition which by itself was quite complex and diverse, displaying a broad sequence of my work at the time.
In the summer of 2017, for the first time I had the possibility to have the possibility to work in a retirement home with some elderly people. The setting was quite a challenge within a tight time schedule. In my memory I think they all had quite a good time giving them a kind of distraction of daily life. For me this was a new experience and a big step of learning.
Most of these photographs represent not only some wonderful friends but also the vivid community of the town of Onishi. When I first met the people and the setting in rural Japan in 2015, I immediately fell in love. The host of the residency, American born Kijel Hahn became a very close friend over the years. It is the setting of the town beneath the green hills and the local people as the recurring artists from all over, who makes this place so special.