Yiqian Zhang

In Another Language – Their Stories

Yiqian Zhang’s work at Künstlerhaus Büchsenhausen was centered around issues of migration. In Another Language—Their Stories was a multimedia installation dealing with the displacement of migrants, their geographically and culturally conditioned identity crisis, politics of border crossing and decision to settle in a foreign culture for economic survival. Zhang writes: “The project In Another Language—Their Stories is the attempt to search for possible ways of eliminating sense of foreignness while preserving the tolerance for difference in the new environment. It represents the lost homeland in an introverted mindset, or the moment migrants grasp the fate of the nomad in the outside landscape. Yet it is also about repairing this disrupted attachment, and tracing the soothing reassurance of floating in reverberating, unfamiliar spaces. The erosion of various languages is used to resist foreigners and can be seen in acutely incommunicable situations. We hear their stories, but whether or not we really understand their experiences has nothing to do with our being able to understand verbalized text; in this fast paced contemporary context, our ability to believe their suffering does not depend on the truth aspect. The notion of ‘borders’ has been chang-ing constantly and has become increasingly less clear—similar to the way our memory blurs with present reality. The project In Another Language—Their Stories combines both physical and imaginary spaces in the psychological dimension of time. The past is foreign, we are the foreigners.”

Relating documentary interviews with migrants to a multi-perspective fictional narration, Yiqian Zhang explored an unknown past as communicated through individual and collective memories. The artist also did a performance during the presentation of the multimedia installation.

Yiqian ZHANG (*1975) studied fine art at California State University Long Beach and the School of the Art Institute in Chicago. She works and lives in Shanghai, China.