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Jannis Schulze: Pangu

Berlin / Beijing


Jannis Schulze was born in East Berlin in 1987 just two years before the fall of the Berlin Wall. He grew up in a slowly unifying city which was adapting to its new reality, combining its past with all the potential of the future. This background of a newly constituting space shaped his interest on socio-historic contexts of political developments. During research, Jannis creates photographic archives of series or single-images, which represent the process of working on subjective imagery. This process allows him to draw from these archives in order to explore different ways of associative representations, such as in exhibitions or publications.

As a result of his exploration of a Daoist mythical figure on his first trip to Beijing back in 2015 and contemporary observations of a city which seemed to be unraveling itself on subsequent travels,  Jannis started working on Pangu during his residency at the Goethe Institute in Beijing. The myth of »Pangu« tells the story of a giant who grew and grew until he reached from one sky to another, thus, reaching his pinnacle, he fell apart, and from this self-dissolution the world was created: His breath became the wind, mist and clouds, and the fleas on his fur carried by the wind became animals. Only having his western perspective, this myth served him as a proxy for motifs which could describe a perceived state of China today: Forceful growth while keeping balance, continuity while reconfiguring structures and organisms.

Edited by Tofu Collective