Historical temples and gaudy dragons, overcrowded cities and a world power in rapid economic growth – these are some of the images that are often called to mind when the talk turns to China. In the solo exhibition Out of, In, On, and Off, Stefan A. Pedersen focuses on China as a projection surface for the West’s ideas, fascination and criticism.
The exhibition is based on Stefan A. Pedersen’s journey through eastern China earlier this year, which was organised on the basis of diary entries and an unfinished film from a trip the artist’s late father undertook forty years ago. On the first floor at Overgaden, a line of semi-transparent curtains runs through the exhibition space as a visual barrier. On one side of the curtains, a video of scenes from the artist’s journey is projected on a free- hanging screen. The video shows foggy landscapes, deserted apartment buildings, a film crew shooting, and cities filmed through the window of a moving train. The contemplative, almost meditative film sequences contrast with the usual pictorial representations of China, and balance instead on the borderline between information and non-information. On the other side of the curtains a soundtrack can be heard, in which a voice talks about travel, ideas, films, deprivation, longing and death.
As the prepositions in the title suggest, the exhibition deals with the historical, medial and personal displacements that influence our understanding of both the world and ourselves. The fragmentation technique in the installation relates to the mechanisms of imagination that are activated when subject and object are out of sync, and examines how we can relate to a story to which we do not have direct access.