I started working on “Cosa sappiamo della Cina” (What we know about China) last year. I was so inspired I worked on it frantically for the first few weeks then life decided I had other things to work on and the painting stood there, unfinished, ugly, meaningless. Until a few days ago when I finally found the courage I needed to work on something which had been languishing in my room for so long. And it clicked. Magic sparked and I felt as if someone sucked the image out of my brain (no zombies involved) and onto the wood board.
When I started working on this big board (it’s the twin sister of Piccole Inutilità Quotidiane‘s board) I thought it would be cool to have a layer made entirely of Chinese newspapers. It turned out they don’t sell you their newspaper and even tell you lies not to. Did I experimented some sort of racism? Oh well, the Internet helped me once again and I found a good place where I could download magazines pages, print them and paste them on the board.
My two girls had to represent some sort of crossover between our perception of “China” and what they really do, wear, and look like in China. That’s why you see the rich red dress of the upper girl and the rigid pose of the lower girl. On the background there are bicycle’s wheels because, you know, everybody in China rides a bike. Or do them?
Then, if you look closer you’ll see that the magazine pages are exactly like the beauty mags you’d find anywhere else. The girl in the red dress wears her hair short and the lower one is wearing a rich pink lip gloss. It was an exercise on stereotypes, on what it is supposed to be and what it really is. And China could be any place, time, or person. We’re all someone else’s China.