Alexander Brandt

Souvenir (2008, Installation and photography)

An eight by four meter section of a bulky borderline fence stands squarely in the middle of the exhibition space. Its metal structure, mesh wire, and barbed fence have become rusty after years of exposure to sun and rain. It appears that it has just recently been cut out of the borderline between the two cities Shenzhen and Hong Kong. A shiny metal plate is fixed to the fence, reading "Souvenir from Shenzhen". On the wall behind this object is a very large panoramic photograph of the borderline between the two cities, winding through the landscape. Very obviously, a piece missing in the fence.
Three decades ago, the border between Hong-Kong and the mainland has been a line separating two fundamentally different political systems. Two opposed political philosophies. Today the political hostility has vanished, yet the border is still in place. A cutting line winds along the densely urbanized city-center of Shenzhen. Fences, barbwire, armed guards and watchtowers make sure that the unauthorized won't trespass. The question is: What separates us?