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Bianca Pedrina | 2021 Residency

Mainland China | Visual Arts

2021 — Visual Arts

Nationality: Switzerland
Residency location: Shanghai
Partner organization: TBD

Born in 1985 in Basel. She studied at Städelschule Frankfurt and at Hochschule der Künste Bern and attended residencies in Seoul, St. Anton, Brindisi and Paris. She received awards from the Cristina Spoerri Foundation in 2015, from the UBS Kulturstiftung in 2016 and was nominated for the Swiss Art Award in 2018. Pedrina regularly extends her artistic research to curatorial and publication projects.

“In my work I frequently trace back forms and ideas of architecture and its history. I focus on details in the cityscape and in building structures, on debris that could potentially contain the whole city in itself. I try to draw the gaze to what lies at the periphery, almost hidden and yet visible.

By dealing with the built environment and how, simply put, it affects us and we in turn transform it, I have of course always been fascinated by the rapid urbanization and its consequences for architectural planning in post-Mao China.”

During her residency in Shanghai she wishes to continue her ongoing photographic study which started 2018 in South Korea:

“Rock Contemplating Nature” is a series of pictures that show traces of human interaction with the city and of nature which continues to persist, despite the efforts of an uncompromising urban renewal in competitive capitalism. It seems that nature refuses to disappear and keeps appearing through a back door.

It is inevitable to tame nature in a process of constant urban renewal, but the urge to artificially reintegrate it is equally strong.  This manifests, for example, in ornaments made of natural forms, as we can find in architectural design. Or in the simulation of natural building materials such as wood or stone with replicas made of plastic, e.g. foam boards in interiors, photo foils with pictures of nature or concrete formwork with artificial impressions of natural stone. We can also observe how the forces of nature manifest themselves in the synthetically produced spaces: in the form of weeds growing between cobblestones or asphalt, as mould on the walls or in the form of hairline cracks in concrete, which, when water enters, cause whole sections of the artificial stone to flake off. This hints towards a future where, as we can presume, humans eventually will be gone and nature takes over again.

In addition, the rapid change in building structures in cities like Shanghai leaves the question of history, identity and the telling of stories through objects under very ambiguous conditions. Cities tend to become faceless creatures when organic growth is replaced by profit-oriented urban planning. And architecture in general is an indicator of a country’s history, its values and its social conditions.

More about Bianca Pedrina


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