China. The Arts – The People
Photographs and Films from 1980s and 1990s
This first large scale exhibition by artist and filmmaker Ulrike Ottinger in Asia will juxtapose the artist’s cinematographic productions with her work as photographer. The focus is on her research and travels in China during the 1980s and 1990s. Depicted in China. The Arts – The People (1985) is the everyday life in Beijing, Sichuan Province, and Yunnan Province. Whereas in Taiga (1992), Ottinger focuses on the life and rituals of nomadic peoples in Northern Mongolia, specifically the Darkhad nomads and the Sojon Urinjanghai. Exile Shanghai (1997) reconstructs the odyssey, while German, Austrian, and Russian Jews intersect during their exile in Shanghai.
Johanna d’Arc of Mongolia (1989) is her only feature fiction film shot in China. Driven by her curiosity for people and places, Ottinger’s images alternate between documentary insight and theatrical extravagance, presenting encounters with everyday realities at the intersection of the contemporary, the traditional, and the ritual. Her photographs, created throughout her career and largely in parallel with the production of her films, serve as important visual cues and are central to this presentation at NTU CCA Singapore.
Ottinger, initially a painter, came to filmmaking in the early 1970s. During her career she has created an extensive image archive, including photographs, collections of postcards, cut-outs, illustrations, and other iconographic documents. Her films have received numerous awards, having been shown at the world’s most important film festivals, and appreciated in multiple retrospectives, including Rio de Janeiro International Film Festival, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, and Cinémathèque française, Paris. Her work has been featured in major international exhibitions, such as Gwangju Biennale and Documenta XI, Kassel. Her most recent solo shows include Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, Neuer Berliner Kunstverein, Berlin, Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam, and Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid.