Old Europe

Handmade shirt from cotton gauze (size 36)

Embroidered with coastline (front) and tectonic boundaries (back) of Asia


Old Europe

Technical basics
The Asian continent has two outlines, depending on whether it is viewed geographically or geologically. In the former case, the coastlines – seen from the perspective, for example, of a satellite – define the outline; in the latter case, the outlines are provided by the boundaries of the continental plate which is drifting as a tectonic unit on top of the asthenosphere (i. e., excluding India and the eastern part of Russia). One could describe the first as the “top view” the other as the “bottom view of Asia”. In the work Old Europe the two motifs are each embroidered on to the front or back of a shirt; due to the transparency of the base material, their differences are visible when draped over a clothes hanger. The work was worn by a Chinese woman at the official opening.

Artistic concept
Creating an analogy between the body and the continent, Old Europe postulates the thesis of a physical relationship and dependency between Asia and Europe: the former continent is the torso, the latter the head. The maps on the shirt are accordingly positioned at an angle of 90°, i. e., pointing to the west, ending at the neckline with the Urals. In addition to the allegorical arrangement, Old Europe also reflects upon the act of “sliding in between”, i. e., inserting oneself between the geographical topography and geological mountain roots of a continental plate. Operating as a form of tactile plate tectonics, the work transforms the wearer of the shirt into a section of the Earth’s crust. This experimental set-up thus enables the concrete comparison of mapped geological regions with the body’s own topography and mountain formation.