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RP: I would never have expected you to be an expert in vexillology!My approach, especially when the idea first came to me, was certainly more Eurocentric.Rules and samples have always been present in my work.For a while my artistic practice has used post-production, as Bourriaud called it.In fact, the first combination of flags I did coincided with two things.One was my move from Berlin—where I had lived for fifteen years—to Merano, in South Tyrol / Trentino Alto Adige.Then, about a decade ago, I began to think that choosing, highlighting, commenting, replacing, overlapping, disassembling and reassembling were no longer enough. That a conceptual approach could finally be reconciled with a more studio based practice and that manual labor should come back to play a role within my research.AK: There are some flags (not only national flags but also regional and tribal flags) that are gorgeous.
To then go back to the flag (modified in proportion) of the 1950s, via that of the rebels from the civil war.
How did you envisage the interaction between the public and this work? I also really like the German flag, also because of the black and the parallel stripes.
Talking about his maps, Alighiero Boetti said that what interested him was the fact that the colors, the geometries and the crests of the flags, just like the lines that define borders, are complex organisms whose rules are the combination of various elements such as the passing of time, cultural differences, religious beliefs, wars and reconciliations.
But up to that point I had worked exclusively with printing laboratories, and I had always met resistance from printers to these type of experiments.
So, as a test, the first thing I thought about was the two flags that best represent the place where I now live. As my longterm partner’s mother tongue (a problematic word) is German, and I have a four-and-a-half-year-old daughter, born in Berlin, who speaks both German and Italian, I have never experienced these two worlds as conflicting.
I was immediately excited about them and my enthusiasm only increased as I moved closer and realized how good the fortune cookie wrappers looked on them. As I worked I chanced upon the flag of the Republic of China, the state that governed the island of Taiwan from 1912 to 1949. It’s red, yellow and blue—a dirty blue, almost robin’s egg—and then, unexpectedly, white and black.