Milana Schoeller

thoughts on her series Border/Lines

A border is defined as “a line separating two countries, administrative divisions or other areas”. Words most commonly associated with Borders are separations, divisions, boundaries or edges.

The current political climate seems to agitate a need for borders, and not solely the national kind, the divide goes deeper. In our time of “fake news”, opinion seems to equal the findings of scientific research. If I don’t believe in climate change, that’s that, it´s my opinion, because all those scientists are just “fake”.  Two steps forward one step back it seems. The undeniable fact of the matter is that presently, humanity faces a problem that is unique in its history! We are facing a problem that surpasses any manmade border, it is a truly global problem that requires humanity to work together. Climate Change, although just one aspect of sustainability, is a manmade problem that cannot be the responsibility of one nation but of all.

With increasing temperatures, the melting of our icecaps, the droughts that will follow in some parts of the world and the flooding in others will and is causing climate change refugees. Where will they go? Who’s “problem” are they? As often is the case, the effects of climate change will be first felt by the poorer countries; will the richer own up and open up the borders they so vehemently put up? One of the biggest questions is what makes us human? And if humanity faces a problem, why do we refuse to come together as humans and solve it, rather than persisting on shifting blame, redirecting responsibility and setting up our boundaries out of fear of difference and change. Climate change requires us to come together in order to effectively fight it, yet instead the social and political climate is longing for separation. (Brexit, Us boarder wall as examples)

The series “Border/Lines” revolves around this theme both in the broad sense of these big nation borders as well as the more hidden personal borders we put up all the time, sometimes even without noticing it. In one aspect it is also a personal journey. I have often observed how the sheer size and magnitude of problems such as the refugee crisis, the separation of immigrant children from their parents and most certainly climate change and our pollution, make me put up invisible borders. I scroll past an article that I know will only give me anxiety. I haven’t done anything, just chosen not to read it. But in reality, I am, even with a tiny action like that, ignoring the problem. The more I do that, the more my hidden borders creep in. They separate me from big problems I do not want to face or feel any responsibility for.

The lines on the paintings take the colors of the painting beneath. They are invisible at first glance. The paintings appear to simply consist of two colors that stand in contrast to one another (two nations perhaps). Clear divisions, creating edges, boarders, separation of the space.  Then, through the reflection of lights or shadows the viewer starts to perceive the lines. The realization that the separation, division or boarders so to speak is much more widespread. They encompass and reach for the whole painting. Simply passing over the color boundaries (because in the end, aren’t we all the same).

As is most often the case, things are never quite as simple as they seem. It is only through opening my eyes, shining light on to my hidden self that I might begin to change. Some paintings show gapes. These are areas of hope. Other paintings are fully covered in lines, raising the question if it is too late to change, or is it too hard to look at one’s own inadequacies?

Milana Schoeller

thoughts on her series Border/Lines

A border is defined as “a line separating two countries, administrative divisions or other areas”. Words most commonly associated with Borders are separations, divisions, boundaries or edges.

The current political climate seems to agitate a need for borders, and not solely the national kind, the divide goes deeper. In our time of “fake news”, opinion seems to equal the findings of scientific research. If I don’t believe in climate change, that’s that, it´s my opinion, because all those scientists are just “fake”.  Two steps forward one step back it seems. The undeniable fact of the matter is that presently, humanity faces a problem that is unique in its history! We are facing a problem that surpasses any manmade border, it is a truly global problem that requires humanity to work together. Climate Change, although just one aspect of sustainability, is a manmade problem that cannot be the responsibility of one nation but of all.

With increasing temperatures, the melting of our icecaps, the droughts that will follow in some parts of the world and the flooding in others will and is causing climate change refugees. Where will they go? Who’s “problem” are they? As often is the case, the effects of climate change will be first felt by the poorer countries; will the richer own up and open up the borders they so vehemently put up? One of the biggest questions is what makes us human? And if humanity faces a problem, why do we refuse to come together as humans and solve it, rather than persisting on shifting blame, redirecting responsibility and setting up our boundaries out of fear of difference and change. Climate change requires us to come together in order to effectively fight it, yet instead the social and political climate is longing for separation. (Brexit, Us boarder wall as examples)

The series “Border/Lines” revolves around this theme both in the broad sense of these big nation borders as well as the more hidden personal borders we put up all the time, sometimes even without noticing it. In one aspect it is also a personal journey. I have often observed how the sheer size and magnitude of problems such as the refugee crisis, the separation of immigrant children from their parents and most certainly climate change and our pollution, make me put up invisible borders. I scroll past an article that I know will only give me anxiety. I haven’t done anything, just chosen not to read it. But in reality, I am, even with a tiny action like that, ignoring the problem. The more I do that, the more my hidden borders creep in. They separate me from big problems I do not want to face or feel any responsibility for.

The lines on the paintings take the colors of the painting beneath. They are invisible at first glance. The paintings appear to simply consist of two colors that stand in contrast to one another (two nations perhaps). Clear divisions, creating edges, boarders, separation of the space.  Then, through the reflection of lights or shadows the viewer starts to perceive the lines. The realization that the separation, division or boarders so to speak is much more widespread. They encompass and reach for the whole painting. Simply passing over the color boundaries (because in the end, aren’t we all the same).

As is most often the case, things are never quite as simple as they seem. It is only through opening my eyes, shining light on to my hidden self that I might begin to change. Some paintings show gapes. These are areas of hope. Other paintings are fully covered in lines, raising the question if it is too late to change, or is it too hard to look at one’s own inadequacies?