Wiener Festwochen

Yingmei Duan

Braunschweig, Germany

»Pregnancy is not just about a baby being born.«

Yingmei Duan (*1969 In the province of Heilongjiang, People’s Republic of China) is an internationally acclaimed performance artist. She studied with Marina Abramovich, Birgit Hein and Christoph Schlingensief in Braunschweig, where she now lives and works. During the Wiener Festwochen, Yingmei will participate at Fyodor’s Performance Carousel at the Künstlerhaus Wien.

I come from China, I have been living in Germany since 1998. Before that, I had been working as a freelance artist in Beijing for eight years, but back then but I mostly did painting. From 1993 until 1995 I was part of an artist community called Beijing East Village, which had lots of performance artists. This let me enter the world of performance. I was very curious, but also very shy, and I found it hard to perform in front of strangers. In 1995, I was part of the now iconic performance To Add One Meter to an Anonymous Mountain. I started my first major solo performances after I joined Marina Abramovich’s class at Braunschweig University of Arts, Germany. I accidentally met Marina on the university campus. Before that, I didn’t even know her name.

Why did you come to Germany in the first place?
I wasn’t happy in China for some personal reasons. In 1995, I had a solo exhibition at Kunsthaus Erfurt with my paintings and came to really liking Germany. That’s why I came back in 1998 to stay for good. 

What’s the main focus of your work?
In the beginning of my performance career, after coming to Germany, I only did solo performances. Gradually I also started doing collaborative and installation performances, like Happy Yingmei, which I did for the 2014 edition of the Sydney biennale, where I created and inhabited a little forest in a gallery space and lived there for over three months. 

You are currently participating at Fyodor’s Performance Carousel, a production of the Wiener Festwochen. What’s your personal story on the topic “pregnancy“, which sets the theme for the Viennese edition of the Carousel?
After I got the invitation to participate I started to do my own little research. For me “pregnancy” is not just about a woman’s body or about a baby being born. It stands for something new, a fundamental new beginning. 

What object might best represent your performance at the Carousel?
A lot of objects will be in my performance. I searched my home for old things I had stopped using, but which had once been very important for me personally. At the performance I will try to breathe new life into these objects. I’m especially attached to a printer, which I had bought in 2003 and which has served me well for about ten years. I even took it with me on my travels, although it is really bulky. Over the years it got old and frail but, until the end, it managed to give its very best. Towards the end, it needed a long rest after every page. I will try to breathe new life into my beloved printer at my performance at Fyodor’s Performance Carousel

Portrait Wiederhergestellt
New AssetFile

Yingmei Duan, To Add One Metre to an Anonymous Mountain, 1995

Yingmei Duan, Clown, 2004

Yingmei Duan, Little secret, 2004

Yingmei Duan, Paradise, 2005

Yingmei Duan, Happy Yingmei, 2012

Yingmei Duan, Happy Yingmei, 2014

Links
Yingmei Duan Wikipedia
Fyodor’s Performance Carousel

#loveart, #performancecarousel, #wienerfestwochen2016, #Yingmeiduan

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