Dark Pairing

Since 20 May 2021
The postcolonial view is the view of empathy and the desire to understand; (…) The postcolonial view recognizes and recognizes hybrid cultures and identities. - Paul Michael Lützeler

About the exhibition

About the exhibition

This recognition of the hybrid as well as the development of colonial cultures and history is the theme of T. Lauw in Dark Pairing  by interweaving plants in a fine-meshed network. Images of cultural inscription and overlay arise precisely from the impossibility of unraveling the materials. The net is no longer just a symbol of capture, but becomes the carrier of the other. At the same time, it is precisely through this function of the wing that it maintains its dominant position: the network not only determines the formation and arrangement of the individual flowers, it also decides what is in front and behind, an outside and an inside: it becomes a border location. In Dark Pairing this obvious upper hand disappears in favor of a fine interweaving of the materials. Instead of wire, we are now dealing with knotted yarn, which forms a common network with the plants. Despite the poetic-visual language, the brutality of colonial rule becomes the red line of T. Lauw's works.

By using exotic plants, the striving for rule by colonial powers over indigenous cultures is critically examined. The fascination of the exotic has a long history and developed from an extremely hierarchical understanding of the "foreign" of other continents. Collecting “exotic” plants was part of the process of colonization and can be interpreted as an act of cultural appropriation (of the exotic). By building up the works, T. Lauw formulates the appropriation and imposition of the cultural as a processual development, the traces and memories of which form identities to this day and beyond.

The artistic presentation is part of the  project TAKING CARE. Ethnographic and World Cultures Museums as spaces of care, which is co-funded by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union. In this project, 13 partner museums explore the connections between ethnographic collections and questions about the climate crisis and the Anthropocene, and in this context address the aftermath of colonialism. In this way, the project positions ethnographic and world cultures museums as places that address these issues in a participatory and creative way.

Daily (except Monday)
10 am to 6 pm
10 am to 9 pm

Weltmuseum Wien

Neue Hofburg, Heldenplatz
1010 Vienna, Austria

About the artist

About the artist

Wie-yi T. Lauw (b. 1983, Vienna, Austria) lives and works in Berlin. She graduated with an M.A. from the Kunsthochschule Berlin Weißensee in 2012.

Wie-yi T. Lauw's work is a poetic testimony to a personal, yet generally valid, occupation with existential topics: What are the anchors of one's (multicultural) history? What role do memories play as identity-creating structures? What do terms such as cultural heritage and identity mean in the age of global and digital?

Wie-yi T. Lauw questions the absolute and unambiguous - in favor of an open and never completed process. It breaks and contradicts with contrary materials, shows the ambivalence of (in) visibility and robs things of their original functions by using photography, sculptures and installations. In this way she creates the temporal and changeable - the relentless >> becoming << - the only constant of her art.

For more info on the aritist click here.

Artist Talk

Artist talk

On the occasion of the opening of Wie-yi T. Lauw's art installation Dark Pairing in the permanent collection of Weltmuseum Wien, Claudia Augustat, curator of the South American Collection, talks with the artist Wie-yi T. Lauw and the director of the Botanical Department of the Natural History Museum Vienna Christian Bräuchler.


At first glance, the conceptual publication “Dunkle Paarung” by Wie-yi T. Lauw is deceptive. There is an absence of images. Only through an active intervention by the reader (tearing the perforated pages open), the hidden content of the book uncovers as flowers that bloom;  only to reveal their beauty.  This act indicates the violence and striving for domination of colonial powers, which Wie-yi T. Lauw pursues in her work. In her scanned floral compositions, she deals with the collection of exotic plants as an instrument of colonization processes, which can itself be interpreted as cultural appropriation. 

The publication can be bought here.

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