HD Video, 2 channel, aspect ratio 16:9, color,
sound, 23 min 46 sec, english, german subtitles,
edition of 5 + 2AP
Lena Maria Thuering is a swiss artist, based in Zurich Switzerland.
She studied at the Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK). She has exhibited work at venues as Musée de l’Elysée Lausanne CH (2007), Zentrum Paul Klee Bern CH (2008), Kunsthalle Basel CH (2008), Kunstverein Freiburg GE (2009), Kunstmuseum Bern CH (2010) and Kunsthaus Baselland CH (2011) and had screenings at the Jeu de Paume in Paris FR, "Rencontres Internationales" (2009) and at Video Dumbo Festival in Brooklyn New York (2010). She received several awards including Swiss Art Award (2008), Grant from Canton Zurich, (2008), BLKB-Art Prize Baselland (2009), Grant from Canton Zurich (2009), Kiefer Hablitzel Foundation Award (2009 and 2011), Grant from Zurich City, (2011) and 6 month artist residencies in Paris (2009) and New York (2010).
Lena Maria Thüring is known for her examination of socio-cultural and anthropological topics. The reflection on social systems and their construction by assigning them a specific place, as well as the combination of memory, history and space figure prominently in her work. She often positions those questions based on personal stories of individual people or groups, where the socio-cultural environment of the people portrayed also play an important part.
Central to her latest works is the examination of a youth movement or the representatives of a younger contemporary generation of varying cultural and social origins. The artist points to an attitude that can be compared to the one which forms the background to the so-called defiant gardens. It is proven that in war or other exceptional situations people try to retain a little piece of normality by creating a garden or their own place of relaxation where the world is still the way it should be – even if it is next to the trench. Metaphorically speaking all the portrayed persons find their individual defiant garden in the midst of their lives that are shaped by violence and crises.
During a stay at the Cité des Arts in Paris the artist met a Palestinian artist, who by referring to the scars on his hands talks about the follies that he committed during his youth. The video “Strings” (2011) only shows the hands and their movements, together with the voice of the storyteller. The political and social circumstances that he experienced in his youth during the second Intifada are included in his story only bit by bit. The artist, in whose work embroidered images play a role, only stops his aggressive and angry narrative style when he starts to embroider. Suddenly his accounts become calm and reflective. With the embroidery he has found his personal getaway. As recipients we realise how our preconceived image of a young Palestinian man suddenly becomes cracked. We find out how difficult it is to bring the absolutely normal problems of an adolescent in line with the problems of a society that is permanently at war. “You don’t think as an individual, but as a collective,” is one of his explanation for throwing stones, which has become a fixed routine for him on Friday evenings – notwithstanding the fact that he got the privilege to study in a Western country. His descriptions hold us enthralled and slowly we find links to our own experiences.