Sylvia Kummer - Oneing

An important impetus for the present work relies on an artist, theorist and a monk converted from Buddhism to Taoism in the 17th Century called Shi Tao, who wrote an ancient philosophical concept, called “Oneing”, in his work cycle “Words On Painting” 画 语录. This concept dealt with the core focus of my own artistic work and the present study: The impossibility of translation. Shi Tao used in his paintings classic characters as they were common in ancient China, but since the early 20th Century they are no longer in use. The original meaning of individual words can not be due to the uncertainties and ambiguities of the characters really translated or examined, so the translation must remain vague and imprecise.

“ONEing” stands for “one”. For the “One” creates something new, which in turn collapses or continues to grow, helps each other, to compose something independent, but also reconnect to the traditional. Just as in Chinese, the spiral or circle is the symbol of infinity and timelessness, there is no real starting or ending point.

During several years I captured interviews with people from different countries amongst others about their “being” and “visions”. This I also continued while I was in China. The themes have always revolved around cultural identity, inner and outer perception and their expression. You can find writings in my pictures; writings that cannot be read, as well as membranes installed in space and dissecting, distorting the projected images. i work against the recognizable, the easily tangible. What matters to me, what I focus on is ‘to record the intangible’. Silvie Aigner: “ [...] Sylvia Kummer is a traveller. Even when she doesn’t roam remote parts of the world, she explores places in the immediate vicinity of her work to collect stories, to question social connotations, expose them and bring the concealed to the surface.” It is not only the inability to translate something within one language or from one language to another, that excites me about this ongoing project, but the challenge lies already in the term “being”. The differences between Western and Asian thinking appear alone in this word, which does not allow for translation. The whole philosophical attitude is embodied there.

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