All that Glitter and Gold

In our cultural realm we associate wool—in its knitted as well as woven form—with a sense of security, a cozy home. Since ancient times, wall coverings made of wool have served not only for warmth and insulation, but have also had an educational function as artworks. While medieval tapestries show, among other things, an ideal image of the Paradiesgärtlein (Garden of Paradise), the embroidered images by Tanja Boukal are based on photographs of the reality that awaits immigrants to the supposed European paradise: The photographs show people living at the fringes of our society. They struggle to maintain their dignity, strive for a better life for themselves and their families, and put up with detention, prostitution, and xenophobia. The titles of the individual works refer to the sites where the photos were taken, although these sites are, in principle, interchangeable. The presentation is, however, broken by baroque-like golden frames that appear as sheer mockery in the face of the human suffering on display.