Maja Bajevic, Import Export, 2009.
Export – Import is a work that takes the history of textiles in Glarus as a starting-point, the import-export relations in the age of textile manufacture in Glarus and Europe in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, to compare earlier relations of trade and production with the contemporary situation of the global market.
The artist commissioned a Chinese company to recreate historical textiles produced in Glarus as oil paintings on canvas. The textiles patterns, that strangely resemble minimal painting, were taken from their origin – handwoven fabrics from Africa, Turkey and Indonesia, to be produced in Europe industrially, in great numbers, and sold back to the ‘creators’ on competitive prices with witch the manual work could not compete. The contemporary situation presents a reversal. In todays society work, be it manual or industrial, has been totally devaluated again, a situation that makes it possible to order oil painted canvases of the original textile patterns from China on a very competitive price. The canvases have been ordered from two different oil painting firms to compare, on yet another level, the skills of the craftsmanship.
Original and copy, high arts (painting) and arts and crafts are suddenly seen in a vexing relationship to one another, and throw up questions concerning the conditions of the contemporary market and trade economy, conditions of employment and production, relations of value and labour, but also their meaning and meaninglessness.