In June 2017, I kidnapped an encyclopedia from the Public Library of Shanghai. It was an illustrated compendium about Chinese aesthetic tradition, in which no aspect of popular arts was left undocumented: theater, dance and opera, landscape, architecture and furniture, hairstyling and clothing, toys or packaging design. 

We are able to understand the world once we can name and represent our experience in it. Despite not being able to read the text of the book, it was possible for me to navigate through the pages thanks to its images, which I copied by hand on colourful papers as if it were a study exercise. The result is an archive of 555 drawings, an attempt to insert in my imagination the history of a culture so distant from my own one.

After treasuring the encyclopedia for two years, I returned it to its shelf right before I moved back to Europe. During that time, the Chinese government cancelled the airing of two of the most successful soap operas of the moment: because the stories were dated in imperial times, they offered a version of the history in conflict with the one fabricated by the current party. The announcement, which we could considered anecdotal, must be taken as a reminder of the fictional nature of historical narratives, and makes us wonder which percentage of fantasy - deliberated or unintended - is contained in the stolen encyclopedia, the archive of drawings I created or even in our memory.

> Like a Precious Seam in the Bottom of the Mine,
2017-19
, 555 drawings, ball pen on paper, 6 x 10 cm

 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
About Shop
 
© Artworks and web design by Edén Barrena, 2022