7th Shanghai Biennale
Julian Heynen: Translocalmotion (Introduction from the catalogue)
Ulrike Ottinger began her professional life as a visual artist, but has been known internationally since the 1980s, most recently as the director of numerous films. A fundamental element in almost all her work is the tension and the interaction between local and migrating cultures. Taking the notion of collage as the basis of her methods, her interest is in the all-pervasive mingling of the Self and the Other, with cultural, national and gender differences being just a few of the dimensions that she explores. "Ottinger makes her films at the intersection of the legible and irreducible visual, between narrative and tableau" (Laurence A. Rickels).
Exile Shanghai is based on five interviews that Ulrike Ottinger conducted with European-Jewish immigrants who lived in Shanghai in the 1930s and 40s. Working on an epic scale, she has connected her protagonist's memories with historic documents and glimpses of daily life in the present city. The restful flow of the film has an affinity with the process of recollection, and the time shifts between different eras generates something of the tension between belonging and not belonging that colours immigrant's lives.
© Julian Heynen