​Xiaowen Zhu 'Oriental Silk 鄉綢', 2020, Hatje Cantz, English, Chinese Graphic design by Studio Cheval
​Xiaowen Zhu 'Oriental Silk 鄉綢', 2020, Hatje Cantz, English, Chinese Graphic design by Studio Cheval, © Hatje Cantz

Threads, Texture, Translation, Tactility 'Oriental Silk 鄉綢'

19 May 2021
19:00 - 20:30
Online via Zoom and Youtube

Digital Booklaunch

In the context of Untie to Tie, ifa gallery Berlin investigates movements and forms of migration and global entanglements. The title represents a textile metaphor that allows us to show connections and reconnect interfaces. Textiles have always been a cultural product and technology, a central material of belonging and economy as well as trade. They make visible the hidden framework of globalisation and enable local forms of expression. The event highlights these different translations and movements, personal and collective memories, the history of labor migration both here and there.

Published by Hatje Cantz in 2020, Xiaowen Zhu's English-Chinese bilingual artist book 'Oriental Silk 鄉綢' is a memoir, a biography, a company history and a visual elegy . The Oriental Silk emporium, founded by Kenneth Wong's family in Los Angeles in the early 1970s, has become a productive place to reflect on the astonishing histories of Asian migration and to critique the idea of the American Dream. Through her multi-sensory works, Zhu opens up a multifaceted view of a firm that is distinguished, like its silk products, through its own haptics, style, colors, and values. The people, places, and stories that make up the phenomenon of Oriental Silk form a fascinating, vivid tapestry in which the past and present, art and life, are closely interwoven.

The digital book launch will embody four conceptual elements, derived from 'Oriental Silk' – threads, texture, translation, and tactility. Each of these elements corresponds to the non-linear narrative structure, design and aesthetic exploration, language and translation, as well as a new collaborative performance artwork  associated with the project. Through conversations and exchange, the story of 'Oriental Silk' and its rich context are meant to stimulate wider engagements and open discussions that link people and places – and provide purpose – across time and borders.


  • Xiaowen Zhu (Artist and Author)
  • Nicky Harman (Translator)
  • Michael Mason (Designer)

Moderation: Inka Gressel

The digital book launch will take place on Zoom and Youtube.

Participate via Zoom

Participate via Youtube

Opening Hours – ifa Gallery Berlin

Tuesday – Sunday: 14.00 – 18.00
Thursday: 14.00 – 20.00
Closed on Mondays and holidays

Free admission


ifa Galleries

The ifa Galleries show the visual arts, architecture and design of a globalized world. They have been addressing contemporary art and current cultural and socio-political developments in Asia, Africa, Latin America and Eastern Europe since 1971 in Stuttgart and since 1991 in Berlin. Exhibition series afford insight into art scenes all over the world and reach across national borders. Conversations, lectures and discussions allow visitors direct contact with artists and curators.

ifa Gallery Berlin

ifa Gallery Stuttgart


ifa Gallery Berlin

Linienstraße 139/140
D-10115 Berlin

Telephone: +49.30.284491.40