Alice Dittmar‘s work is based on the concept of ornamentation: a motif within a frame in endless repetition.
The ornament traverses cultures, unifying the Oriental and Occidental. Since coming to Beijing on an artist residency in 2008, Alice has moved between three worlds, continents, cultures: Europe, China and Australia. The experience of living nomadically has been a major influence on her work. Initially Alice assumed this nomadism would be provisional. Instead it became a conscious performance, allowing her to explore different cultural ‘landscapes‘ and perceptions of identity.

Employing various media including text archives (diary notes, philosophical, historical and/or scientific sources), Alice seeks to capture her perceived reality and her immediate surroundings. Drawings emerge
out of this approximation process.

For the current show, Ying Gallery chose Pattern ∞ Landscapes which reveal Alice‘s work as
mirrorings of her environment.

‘My basic concepts are ornamentation, landscape and texture, and their relationships and alliances in transcultural contexts‘, says Alice. In her understanding, ‘landscape‘ is both a metaphor for the ornament
and a particular context including its social and cultural materiality or fabric.

‘I believe that we influence ‘landscapes‘, just as they influence us and that there‘s constant interaction.‘
In her work, Alice explores ways of dipicting this dialogue. The use of Chinese paper as a carrier (cultural
vehicle) for her drawings, becomes part of a silent communication with the other culture, whereas language (written text) links the different aspects of her work and describes the (cultural) field in which
it was produced. Titles may provide additional information.

Her recent ‘ambiguous landscape‘ series revolve around the idea of ornamentation expanding into abstraction: in endless space or void landscapes. Her theoretical interest lies between (Western) notions
of the real, the Romantic and Sublime vis-à-vis (Eastern) notions of harmony, emptying and transcendence. In her work, Alice merges the repetitive moments and motifs recognisable in different cultural settings, questioning what is overlapping and transcultural.

Alice wishes to unveil the different thought and production processes that give rise to her work:
a drawing is one possible result; (related) texts become part of the piece or are written to provide insights
into her full body of work and action. She indicates that (real) things, motifs, symbols, even words and
terms may have different meanings depending on the (cultural) context they‘re seen, read, perceived and interpreted in. Meanings are never fixed; they undergo a constant change (together with culture, history
and earthly cycles).

Trying to be aware of the many possible meanings became particularly important for Alice who works in different cultural landscapes, but it is actually essential for all of us if we want to achieve a better understanding in transcultural societies. Each of us is asked to take a step in the direction of
‘the other‘, in order to acknowledge, respect, appreciate and learn.

Ying Gallery is proud to work with young international artists and to participate in this dialogue.

Alice Dittmar