an intervention by Thomas N Pauli
Do we see ourselves? - We see ourselves? - How do we see ourselves?
Originally this reflection on yo, tú, él, ella, usted, nosotros, vosotros, ellos, ellas, ustedes ... which form each community, was to be realized as an exhibition with mirrors in a museum. The argumentative content of this installation refers to all members of a community, so it was soon obvious to me that this project could only be done in a place where it reaches all people forming a community. Walking through the city I saw many peluquerías (hairdressers) with their street front shops giving the opportunity for the more or less conscious daily self-reflection which is the aim of my artistic intervention. This gave me the idea to transfer this intervention with all its reflections on identity, community and art to a place, where this argumentation has a forum which is already used for this purpose.
Adhesive letters, attached to the mirror attribute to the person - reflected in the mirror - a certain role in the community. The "I" is asked to see and reflect itself as yo, tú, él, ella, usted, nosotros, vosotros, ellos, ellas, ustedes. At the same time every customer is about to conform, alter or adapt his or her appearance with the hairdresser´s help. During this process anyone is asked to enter a discussion with the mirror image, and maybe make use of the communicative atmosphere in the hairdressers salon to discuss the questions implied.
In order to enlarge the frame of this reflection beyond the community of a region, language and cultural identity to a more global context the language of the first realization of this project (Dec. 2002 in Peru) has not been changed during the intervention in Vienna. The strange reaches the familiar, starts changing relations and requiring positions.
For me art means to ask questions and to create places of reflection. Therefore it is important for me that the confrontation takes place where the question is asked. Art, dedicating itself to social themes operating only from the distance of exhibition spaces will soon loose its justification. This is the only way for me to show my reflection as an artist and to put my confrontation for disposal.