The Shoulders We Stand On
In an urban world where the craving for youth is almost insatiable, a business world focused only on strength and success, it is often forgotten that we all stand on one another’s shoulders. Someone inhabited this world, for better or for worse, a long time before us. Someone made the same mistakes and celebrated the same victories as we are now.
But these people often live beside us, in retirement homes or other institutions on the fringes of society, where you hardly see them, old age and dementia no longer have a place in our midst.
How can I create a space in which we can perceive this? How can I create a place for these people in our midst?
Large colored banners are stretched out on the facades of various buildings in the city of Zurich. Each banner is a portrait. Not by a celebrity or a political figure, not by a young model or a cute kid trying to sell something. They are portraits of almost invisible elderly people living in homes or other sheltered spaces.
During one or more visits to various retirement homes/flat shares, I will portray their residents and, if possible, also have a conversation with them. The portraits are made with pencil on paper.
10-15 selected portraits are then processed and carved into wood printing plates by another artist in a traditional artisanal manner
These portraits are then printed in 3-4 colors on paper in a similar way.
This series is then digitized and processed into large banners. These banners will be hung on various building facades in the city of Zurich.
As part of a celebratory vernissage, the portraits can be admired during a city tour. A project flyer will be handed out for the tour with notes on the respective portrait
Retirement homes/Residentials: They are a part of our society. I don’t want to be critical, but rather create a space where questions can be asked: is it that good for us? Do we want/can we do it differently?
Pencil on paper, printing plates carved in wood: using traditional working methods I want to honor the “shoulders I stand on” and give space in my world.
Series of banners on building facades in the city: In addition to the obvious placement of the portrait series in the middle of the business and entertainment world, it serves to try to involve the local community in the thought process and to include them thematically.
Personal motivation: For me, this project is not about the clichés about old age. I don’t think that older people should always be smart and wise, or that they always have to have a lot of experience. By «making room» for this topic, I want to create a space for collective humility. Because I think that if we can’t consciously make room in our midst for the weak, all of our accomplishments and abilities are futile and hollow.
As I perceive our society today, we only strive for the beautiful and sweet, which in turn leads to callousness. But old age is not sweet or really beautiful and is therefore fought with all means and condemned to oblivion. What is often forgotten is that we all grow old and fragile and that without fragility there would be no true strength in society.