Aus der Serie "Basic Languages"

© Generali Foundation Collection—Permanent Loan to the Museum der Moderne Salzburg

Rainer Ganahl

Aus der Serie "Basic Languages", 1994-2003

6 autographs, 5 digital graphics Writing- and language exercises on paper, Pencil and ballpoint pen, double-sided, 25 x 17.8 cm each to 30.4 x 22.9 cm, Computer graphics, 27.8 x 21.7 cm each framed 43 x 58.5 cm each


Artwork text

Language does not only reflect economic, social, technological, and political/geographical realities, but also psychological, cultural ones. Speaking another language also means being another person. For almost a decade I have been learning foreign languages as part of my art. I have been studying Japanese, Modern Greek, Russian, Korean, Chinese as my art work. I have been learning on a regular basis over many years. I don’t do this just as a short lived performance act. The decision to incorporate learning into art making has been motivated by my studies of Edward Said’s critique of Orientalism, a fundamental critique of Eurocentrism that shows how the cultural apparatus has collaborated with imperialist politics and ideologies. Therefore my linguistic choices have been Oriental languages since they are also considered difficult or impossible to learn for Europeans. Already in the appreciation of languages negative or positive stereotypes surface something that changes when studying. (Rainer Ganahl)