Katerina Rozhkova "Veil of Happiness"

Sputnik Gallery

poster for Katerina Rozhkova "Veil of Happiness"

This event has ended.

Ekaterina Rozhkova's Veil of Happiness series of silkscreens contemplates the perpetual curiosity and relationship between the two great principles cultures of our globe, the East and the West.

The project emerged as the result of the discovery of two separate photo albums from the turn of the twentieth century. The first album, depicting the play by former French prime minister Georges Clemenceau titled "Veil of Happiness," included 12 photographs of European, perhaps amateur, actors performing scenes of everyday Chinese life in traditional Chinese dress. The second album was comprised of staged photos on silk of Chinese models dressed in traditional Chinese attire. Paradoxically, these scenes were created using the canons of European photography of the time and were set against quintessentially European backdrops.

In this project, Rozhkova reproduces the photographs found in those albums using a combination of silkscreening and hand painting on paper or traditional Chinese patterned silk. Underneath the imposed veil (of distance, both physical and cultural), the images twinkle from beneath the translucent coating, and the material that the artist has chosen for each image allows the images to retain all their own captivating aurafor which they are unique.

Rozhkova's Veil of Happiness represents a contemplation on how we accept, understand and acclimate to an unknown and different culture. To the West, China has always been a mysterious other culture, alien, yet inviting. The East is always present in our minds, in some way present in our lives, yet so far away that our consciousness conceives it as something completely different. In these works, we view Eastern culture through the depiction of Frenchmen playing the role of Chinese men. Likewise, we view European culture through the depiction of Chinese models playing the role of the Westerner. Whether these images are presented through a theatrical podium or the artistic eye of an unknown photographer, in both cases, the images are staged. We observe Easterners undertaking an inept attempt to become acquainted with the West by recreating their methods of portraiture, and similarly, Westerners attempting to understand Chinese life by acting out the scenes of a play written by a Frenchman. The awkwardness of the actors and subjects expose the naïveté of thinking it possible to understand a distant culture simply by including it in one's own life.



from October 28, 2010 to January 08, 2011

Opening Reception on 2010-10-28 from 18:00 to 20:00

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