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Not all that wander are lost

In October 2019, I was invited to an exhibition titled "Not all who wander are lost." Unbelievably, this led me to Wuhan. From there, it was a two-hour drive to the exhibition destination at the Jigongshan ART MUSEUM. The entire event was organized by Alexandra Grimmer, an absolute specialist in art projects between China and Austria. Alexandra speaks Chinese very well. For the group exhibition, she brought together a group of 10 artists from Austria, Germany, Russia, China, and Bulgaria. I stayed in China for an entire month. The museum was located in a former holiday resort that had been converted into a huge contemporary art center. There was even an artificially created lake. The whole place looked like a castle estate, with one large room leading to an even larger one. We were accommodated in a hotel within the resort. Every day, we were treated to exquisite Chinese meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, along with plenty of liquor. For us artists, it was a huge playground for artistic processes. Before our arrival, we had to send sketches of our works, as censorship wanted to ensure that the works we displayed were in line with Chinese standards. Alexandra did a great job and skillfully pushed all the works through. In my work, I explored power fantasies. I asked myself, what if the most famous monarchs in European history met with today's richest billionaires and built a building, a combination of Versailles and the Burj Khalifa? Essentially, I aim to expose male fantasies that seek to compensate for something. Statistically, a Versailles stacked so often on top of each other until it reaches the height of the Burj Khalifa couldn't exist. In my photo and painting collages, I make this possible as I see fit. The works were well-received in China, as superlatives support dictatorships. It's similar in the West, where billionaires lose touch with reality and aim for the extraordinary. In line with this, I presented a large-scale light installation with blue light. The motif shows an interior view of the "chambre d’Anne d’Autriche" in Fontainebleau, Napoleon's favorite castle. The room, made of the most expensive interior materials, glows like a blue diamond, like a hologram, and blinds the viewer, who must visually work out the motif. Additionally, I was allowed to show 2 video works, including one critical of America. I found this very exciting in context. The background of the video is when I was in Miami in 2017, I bought 100 white glazed sugar donuts, an icon of American culture. Sugar, the greatest murderer in human history. Such donuts are cheap to buy and symbolize unhealthy living in America. In stop-motion style, the donuts dance in ranks like soldiers, like in huge dance parades. In the background, you can hear the famous "Born in the USA" song by Bruce Springsteen pitched down to half speed. The droning song seems to herald the end of the American dream. I also showed a second video work with an Austrian connection. Thanks to stop-motion technique, deer antlers dance together. In the background, you can hear typically Austrian yodeling, which has been cut together in a way that feels threatening. My intention was to question the sense of belonging, which is often conveyed through national symbols like hunting and yodeling.

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