2013 Schloss Mediale Werdenberg
Chinese shadow figures, swiss cowbells, light, wood, etc
Faces of smiling men floating around the surface of a 6 Ø meter round lampshade.
These are the faces of Deng Xiao Ping, Alan Greenspan, Milton Friedman, Karl Marx, Friedrich Hayek and John Keynes.
Six of the most important people in world economics from the last 100 years. The ideas of these 6 figures have dominated the world we live in today on a massive scale. With exception of Greenspan they are all dead but their ideas, like ghosts, are still very much alive and continuously being questioned and debated. None of these economic models seems to work anymore. World economics is a fragile balancing act that can collapse at any time. The marionette player is also a common used metaphor for the people in control, the people pulling the strings, the manipulators - somewhat like the characters in this installation. Here the mechanism turns against itself, against it's own creators.
The shadows casted by these figures will continuously merge, clash, fade in and fade out because of the unpredictable movements a fragile balance the mobile makes. This whole pandemonium is being accompanied by the friendly and dreamy sound of ringing bells. The continuously unruly movements of economics, sound and shadow collide and create a total image. The Swiss bells are off course a reference to the direct environment of the castle where cows are having a very good life as a very recognizable symbol of Switzerland, a country famous for it's banks and global organizations.
For the last 10 years all kinds of economic models have been important inspirations to my work; from the movements of recycling to more recently, the smallest currency, the cent. Shadow is the perfect medium to comment on economics: all we see are its deformed and derailed reflections but its insides remain hidden to us.
Since I have started to work last year with Chinese shadow figures (the figures in this piece where carved from cow leather by Tian Xiang from Shanxi province) I have also started researching and getting more interested in the history of puppet plays. One of the things I discovered, is that since the early origins of puppet play, in every culture ranging from China to Europe, puppets have been used to ridicule, make fun and give a grotesque vision of important people and events. This is the first time I use existing people in my work and I would like to see this in that same tradition.