Ina Weber’s Chinese Takeout and other Asian Look ceramics
When Voltaire wrote enthusiastically about China in the mid-18th century, he imagined a huge empire governed by enlightened scholar-officials. He had never visited China, but he is sure to have seen the Chinese fashion at the princely courts of Europe of his time, where pagodas, tea houses and pavilions had been built in the Oriental style in numerous gardens and parks. With their curved roof shapes, colourful columns and exotic figures, they suggested, using a few set pieces, an image of a cheerfully playful exotic lifestyle. It should at least be noted here that, whereas at that time there was significant money tied up in the copying of Chinese porcelain on a large scale, the technology transfer primarily takes place in the other direction today. Several major German firms of architects are now involved in the planning of entire cities in the Middle Kingdom. However, the set pieces of traditional Chinese construction remain a constant element of the architecture of our region. None of the numerous Chinese restaurants in a medium to large city can do without them. Even the most basic Asian shop or Thai takeaway serves them up. The ceramic house models of lna Weber do not reveal whether this is the result of the misunderstandings of global cultural exchange, to which Voltaire himself also fell victim. However, they do give us cause to brood, along the winding paths of the connections between peoples over space and time. lt is part of the subversive artistic strategy of lna Weber to direct her gaze at the ways in which our cities are designed, shaped by human hands, mostly profanely banal and thus almost faded from memory. She presents us with the resulting apparently surprisingly unconventional set pieces in cheer- fully revelatory and disconcertingly dimensioned model situations as cryptic traps.
At that her art is the sensually concrete, and simultaneously reflected, confrontation with those aporias things graphic get involved with once the world as such turns increasingly abstract and questionable. The artist’s attitude here is neither pessimistic nor cynical. It is not ideological or utopian, neither is it openly militant, but informed by the cautious security of the type of drifting gambler and “tinker” that uses the everyday equally as a supplier of material and a construction site, who presents it as a given that can be infiltrated. Back of nestling up against the given and known, a precise image formation sets in whose play with reality is neither simple repetition nor definite commentary. In the course structural as well as altogether subjective levels become visible and unfold each their specific dynamics.