With Sails of Straw
With Sails of Straw is a metaphor for the travels of displaced people, at any time and anyplace in the world. And yet, the absurd fragility of such an object is not a great exaggeration if we follow current events, which bring us frequent news of people arriving to the shores of Europe with scarcely more reliable means.
A sail of straw is also an object nearly impossible to make. But the idea of it floating, as though billowing with the wind, in the exhibition space in the interior of the Luckenwalde hat factory designed by Erich Mendelsohn ─ with its ceiling in the shape of a ship’s keel, the architectonic space much like a capsized ship, a shipwrecked Noah’s Ark ─ anchors the metaphor to a specific place. What was Mendelsohn thinking when he designed it? Was he foreseeing the travels he would himself be obliged to undertake, not many years later? The travels of the owners of the factory he built? Like them, several Jewish families who left Germany in the years preceding and during WWII came ashore in Ecuador and set up hat factories, working with the famous paja toquilla, and coming to send their hats to many places around the world. With sails of straw is also a kind of bridge, a greeting sent from such a hat factory in the mountain city of Cuenca, Ecuador, to the Herrmann and Steinberg factory in the rural region of Fläming, across the ocean and across the years.
About Anna Gimein
Anna Gimein came to the visual arts from a background in dance, and one of her main interests is using the human figure and movement as expressive elements for what occurs inside. Several of her works are video-performances focusing on a single gesture, significant in multiple ways, complex in the content for the mind and the heart, and in execution for the body. Beyond the inescapable concern with what the movement could express to the observer, the focus in these works is inward, exploring how feeling and sufferance translates into movement; on what moves us to make certain movements. Language and the spoken word are another important element in her work, with an emphasis on the use of a personal rather than the public voice. She has dealt with the subject of displacement, emigration, exile and other types of travel on repeated occasions.
Gimein’s work has been shown at events and venues such as Acción!Mad (Madrid), Intermediae, Matadero (Madrid), The Big Screen Project (New York), BIDA (The International Biennial of Sports in the Arts, Gijon), Transperformance 1 and 2 (Rio de Janeiro), Limits of Landscape (Sala Proceso, Cuenca, Ecuador), Festival Internacional de Cine Pobre (Cuba), Festival Internacional de Cortometrajes (the International Short Film Festival) Almería en Corto, Artifariti International Art and Human Rights Encounters in Western Sahara, Indomitable Women (Festival Miradas de Mujeres, Matadero, Madrid; BAC Festival de Video, Fundación Miró and CCCB, Barcelona), among others.