Saturday April 9 at 5 PM, 2011
April 9 till April 30, 2011
CEAC, Xiamen, China
Irina Birger lived the first part of her life in Eastern Europe, where she was taught a traditional approach to art and this has had a strong impact on her further work’s development. Irina has since tried to combine this communist past, and that of the cultural influences of the other countries she has lived in, within the frame of Western contemporary art. This mixed background of Irina’s has always impacted on her work in an anthropological way and sometimes in her choice of medium. Today Irina works with animation, video, installation, performance and drawing.
As Irina often works in different countries she always attempts to embrace the genius Loci and reflect on her own connection to it. Being a habitual nomad, she is constantly searching for the link between her individual languages of expression to a culture she has become part of.
In her work Irina is trying to find out what are the most important aspects and elements of our personal and national belonging. This Irina does from her position as a female artist who is a part of the new nomadic generation. Irina therefore returns to these questions: ‘What forms our identity in contemporary society? How can our personality and background change our artistic practices and vise-versa?’ Pursuing these questions she often uses self-image as a central figure and/or autobiographical material as stereotypical examples.
For her solo show “The Future is Bright?!” she had a series of photographs taken of her posing with men from Xiamen. The men were invited to stand together with her in an improvised photo studio. Irina was curious to experiment with the situation changing the role of her “partners” from that of viewer to that of participant. The outcome is a collection of couple portraits featuring different types of Chinese men with Irina subtly adjusting to them. Along with “XiaMen”* and the animation loop “Analogia” (2003), Irina presents a series of minimalistic drawings. In contrast to the immediacy and outward nature of the “XiaMen” these drawings have a quiet and self-reflective character. These parallel responses to living and working in China depict Irina in social and private spheres. They connect and diverge at numerous points and leave the assertion open to question: The Future Is Bright!?
*”XiaMen”* is part of the “Men Collection”, an ongoing project Irina has been working on for many years in different countries.
More info at www.irinabirger.com
The exhibition was made possible with support by The Netherlands Foundation for Visual Arts, Design and Architecture. www.fondsbkvb.nl