The past is a foreign country
“The past is a foreign country. They do things differently there.” — L. P. Hartley
The past is a foreign country deals with the stories of two men whose conflict, understanding and friendship is forged in territories and borders with varying topography – sea, land and outer space. Combining photographic panels and narrative stories (based on the traditional Japanese picture-show style called Kamishibai), this performance examines the political contexts around East Asian border conflicts since the 17th century and the ocean as the realm of absolute freedom. The featured stories also touch on historic events such as the 1969 moon landing of the two NASA astronauts as well as the 2018 summit between North and South Korean leaders. Artists Michikazu Matsune and Jun Yang, who have both been working across different cultural settings, poetically bridge the divide between the present and the past, political and personal, national and individual.
The installation version of the performance is presented as part of the exhibition Jun Yang – the Artist, the Work and the Exhibtion until 19 May at Kunsthaus Graz. Find out more
born in Kobe, Japan, and based in Vienna, is an artist who performs in various situations and spaces such as the stage as well as in public and private spaces. His work is concerned with the relationship between factual and emotional statements and their inherent meaning. Matsune blends narratives, images and dance in his characteristic style that touches on highly sensitive issues with a sense of humour and critical thinking. Recent performances include Dance, if you want to enter my country! (2015), which is based on a bizarre true story of an African American dancer who was forced to dance in order to prove his profession at a passport control. Goodbye (2016) features farewell letters written by famous and anonymous people. All Together (2018), joined on stage by Frans Poelstra and Elizabeth Ward, explores stories of people who for some reason cannot be present to see the performance.
born in Qingtian, Mainland China, is an artist based in Vienna, Taipei and Yokohama. His work encompasses a variety of mediums including film, installation, performance and projects in public spaces, while simultaneously addressing institutions, societies and audiences. Having grown up and lived in various cultural contexts, his artistic work examines the influence of clichés and media images on identity politics. His current exhibition, Jun Yang – Der Künstler, das Werk und die Ausstellung, is on view at Kunsthaus Graz from 15 February until 19 May 2019. His work is also part of the exhibition Chinese Whisper at MAK Wien (30 January – 26 May 2019). Previous exhibitions include the Biennale of Sydney 2018, the Gwangju Biennale 2018 and 2012, the Taipei Biennial 2008, the Liverpool Biennial 2006, the 51st Biennale di Venezia 2005, and the Manifesta 4 in 2002. He is recipient of the 25th Otto Mauer Award in 2005 and the Award for Fine Arts of the City of Vienna in 2017.
Ticket combo: With the ticket for Yabba the performance The past is a foreign country is only € 5. Available at the TQW box office and in our webshop.
Michikazu Matsune / Jun Yang on The past is a foreign country