G.R.A.M. – Chinese walk


Photographs of two members of G.R.A.M. with heavily made up faces (in the style of traditional Sichuan opera) offer several levels of interpretation. On the one hand, they represent conventional notions of exoticism usually associated with otherness (in appearance and behavior). On the other, they also represent various Western avant-garde or modern modes of performance. Here, art is rendered more relevant if it happens in unexpected contexts – in our everyday life or in public space. Thus, the two performers who appear in made up faces and Western attire, the latter of which has become an international standard, are agents in an alien cultural space. Strangely enough, the provocative element, which might usually be associated with all sorts of disguise, is simply absent here. In China, a Western European without make-up is much more conspicuous. If we follow the notion of painting embracing all possible contexts, the masks (and above all the make-up) are of course also statements on painting. They have been conceived as such from the beginning. Ultimately, the documentary medium (photography) transforms this performance into a painting again. The painting is in turn, due to its historical roots, closely connected to the medium of painting.