Halina Kliem and Maya Schweizer (Germany)
Residence period at TCG Nordica (Kunming): May 6 to June 5, 2013
Halina Kliem and Maya Schweizer come to Kunming to realize their project called Beyond the Ancient and the New, they say:
We are interested in daily objects and their intersection between the political and social changes. The idea for a video-and sound installation at the Nordica Culture Center in Kunming came up, when we were visiting China last year. At Southeast Chinese Xiamen’s flea market we found piles of Mao bibles from the 1960ties on one table with ancient Buddha statues. We were wondering how people in Europe and China feel about the relation between ‘ancient’ and ‘today’ and how one defines ‘ne w’. Up from then we became interested in the various personal stories of the former owners, who might have given away these objects, maybe in their process of personal transformation. Among traditional tea cups, Buddha statues and vinyl records from the Cultural Revolution we started to become especially interested in the everyday items, which we couldn’t specify.
As Yunnan province is one of the regions where China shows its cultural and geographical similarities in the same way like the countless varieties, we became interested even more. Yunnan verges on Tibet, Guanxi, and the provinces Sichuan and Guizhou, on Vietnam, Laos and Burma. Various identities exist in Yunnan since the 8th century B.C. Today the metropolis Kunming is growing fast and is the hub between Southeast Asia and China. Traditional craftsmanship, variations, imitations and modern design collide in everyday objects and these sources influence each other. Our aim is to find out more about these “objects” and their stories in diverse areas of life by dialog: In the field of every day and research.
We asked ourselves: What in general makes ‘things’ things to us? Is it its weight? Is it its size? And: Which story hides behind these things? Maybe the Mao bibles we saw at the flea market weren’t “original” ones but just printed for us: tourists, fascinated from the nostalgic collector items from the Cultural Revolution period. Walter Benjamin came to our mind: “the aura is an odd cocoon built from time and space: a unique occurrence of distance, as close it might appear.” What does that mean to us? By Walter Benjamin essay “The work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” we ask: Which social, political and philosophical dimensions hide behind the everyday item in the Asian view, in the European view?
How does the East and the West look at ‘things’? Which vocabularies have Chinese and which has English for objects? If Chris Marker in his experimental film “The Statues also die” discusses the perception of iconic African sculptures from a historical and contemporary point of view, we now want to question: Which might be the ideas, personal living environment and self-perceptions that develops a special ‘thing’?
Which one is part of the daily life, which do we invent and why don’t we want to use another anymore?
Halina Kliem and Maya Schweizer will cooperate with Yunnan Arts University and Yunnan Provincal Musuem in the project, in the end, they will present an exhibition at TCG Nordica-UP Gallery on May 31, 15:00. Welcome to join the events!
Halina Kliem’s works:
Halina Kliem’s website: http://halinakliem.com
Maya Schweizer’s works:
Maya Schweizer’s website: http://www.mayaschweizer.com/