Christian Mayer - Wallpaper


The wallpaper “Décor Chinois” was created by the French company Zuber in 1832 after the design of the artists Ehrmann and Zipelius and served the European bourgeoisie’s fascination for the cultural and scenic opulence of China. This wallpaper is standing in the tradition of hand-printed decor wallpapers that came into vogue in the beginning of the 19th century and that were mostly designed by painters that have never left Europe in person.
They thus represent an imaginary projection of distant places and cultures that were classified as exotic. In the European upper class living rooms these wallpapers seemed to represent the bourgeois taming of a nature that existed in this form only as an imagination.

The work “Décor Chinois” (2010) is a wallpaper based on this historic wallpaper, yet is the image reduced to a black-and-white shadow drawing and divided similar to a technical diagram. Through this process of erasing and measuring the image by marking the number of rolls and the length in meter, “Décor Chinois” is reminiscent of the 19th century belief into the possibility to measure the world, a belief that prepared the ground on several layers of what we call the globalised world today.