[ISEA2016] Artist Statement: Elke Reinhuber — The Urban Beautician: Mail Polish

Artist Statement

At The Corner Of Saigon/Shanghai Street, Hong Kong

The Urban Beautician tries to improve neglected details in our urban environment with interventions in public space and performances to camera. Since more then a decade she takes care of things no one else does. In Hong Kong, her attempt differs slightly as she looks after a recently much discussed issue: the royal insignia on the islands’ letter boxes.
To disremember their colonial past, these red remainders of Hong Kong’s days as crown colony were rigorously covered with the complementary colour. Now, it is even in discussion to conceal the royal cyphers with a plaque. Before this should happen, the Urban Beautician will give new life to selected letterboxes during her intervention. She polishes and emphasises a selection of the different royal insignia from 59 old post boxes (see http://hksearch.weebly.com) which remain in use or were turned into a decorative piece in Hong Kong; comprised of the following: GRV for King George V, GRVI for King George VI, a Crown of Scotland and EIIR for Queen Elizabeth II, the favourite of the Urban Beautician, bearing similar initials as her creator, EER (Elke E. Reinhuber). Two boxes from the era of Queen Victoria found their place in the Hong Kong History Museum and will be acknowledged and henceforth included. [source: eer.de/art/art/ub.html]

  • Elke Reinhuber (DE), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, is not your average artist, because she became a specialist on choice, decision making and counterfactual thoughts in media arts. As a decidophobic in her own life, she is dreaming of a life on the Holodeck, where we can simply explore alternative realities. When immersed herself for the first time in the panoramic photographs she had prepared for a 360° environment, she knew that the heydays of flat screens and static photographs on the wall were gone forever – photography was finally not longer constricted by the limitations of the frame. In her work she explores different modes of presentation and strategies of storytelling to emphasise the parallel existence of multiple truths of the here and now. While living and studying in Berlin, Germany, Reinhuber came across the federal printing facility where all the German banknotes are manufactured, right down her street. The plant – or rather a concrete fortress – was, and still is, heavily guarded, photography was forbidden around the premises, and sometimes at night the sound of heavy machinery was audible – many factors that spiked her curiosity to investigate into the matters of money.  eer.de