Veronika Witte is a visual artist and has lived in Berlin since 1998. She works across disciplines in the fields of sculpture, video and scenic installations. Her extended artistic practice includes mediation, teaching and curating exhibitions. Since 2017 she has been the artistic director of Galerie Nord | Tiergarten art association in Berlin. In this position, she has committed herself to a constant artistic exchange with artists and curators from Vietnam, which takes the form of exhibitions and residencies for the presentation of contemporary art from Vietnam.
In 2008 she came to Vietnam for the first time to realize the video installation Coconut Prison on the island of Phu Quoc as part of a private trip, which was then shown in the Rylliga Berlin exhibition at the Volksbühne in Berlin. The encounter with Veronika Radulovic and the Vietnamese artists was the beginning of friendships and a bond with artists and curators from Vietnam. Four more work stays in Vietnam followed.
"In the multimedia installation “The magnificent yellow runs over pale leaves” (2015/16), the historical imperial robes of Ao Dais from the Thai Kim Lan’s collection are combined with elements from everyday life in Vietnam: (ex-)colonial window closing systems from France, Bamboo yokes of the agricultural population, photo wallpaper and a 7-channel video installation form the elements of the walk-in installation. Seven people who were not known to each other speak on the monitors arranged in a circle: the last surviving 95-year-old lady-in-waiting of the Empress, the collector of Ao Dais, an art historian, an Ao Dais designer and a 19-year-old student. They have a 50-minute conversation that never happened in this way. The fictional conversation is a construct based on several interviews in which the artist showed everyone the images of the robes and asked the same questions.
The installation is flanked by two photomurals depicting the former imperial library in Hue and a terraced house in Munich - places of destruction and preservation. In the space en route between these locations, the visitor walks on a parquet-like, swaying, wooden sea laid out from over a thousand "dong ganh" - the Vietnamese bamboo yoke. He wanders between the robes and monitors hanging from vertical metal structures (assemblages of colonial window-closing systems: cremones) anchored like stalks from the ceiling into this m unique flooring of the supporting yokes. These fragments of Vietnamese history and culture - torn from their original context and combined in a way that is not intended - form the spatial structure for the presentation of the 7-channel video installation and the eleven Ao Dais." (Veronika Witte)