| Funded Projects IKF, Individual Artistic Development

Kulturelle Konstrukte in Europa

© Mercedes Wagner

The German potato, Dutch tulips, Swiss chocolate, Italian coffee. All these embodiments of national identity are based on the trans-European process of colonisation and are cultural constructs. The research work of Mercedes Wagner  is based on her dissertation “Ex Exo Artefakt”, which in the form of photographs displays foodstuffs that came to Europe in the course of colonisation and are today firmly integrated in our self-image, for example the potato in Germany. Wagner's photos address present-day reading of these things from a postcolonial perspective and challenge our everyday life. The theme of the cultural construct is taken up in further images that show pre-Columbian artefacts in exhibition situations in ethnological and archaeological collections. Through the work with photography and its opportunities for reproductions, photographic representation functions are dealt with and our image of “reality” is challenged. In the framework of her research, Mercedes Wagner looks for further cultural constructs of everyday life in European countries and throws light on their creation context. The objective is to face Europe's colonial past as a collective but heterogeneous process that reaches into the present. Our present definition of cultural identity is examined in this research and questioned in projects developed from this to sensitise for global interrelations.