Sonja Hinrichsen


The Three Gorges – 3rd Edition, Organhaus Gallery, Chongqing, China 2011

The Three Gorges of the Yangzi River are one of China’s most celebrated natural wonders. The area attracts thousands of tourists each year who come on ships to gaze at bizarre rock formations, spot poems that have been carved into cliff walls and learn about China’s ancient history. Considered the cradle of Chinese culture, this environment has recently been altered – or “edited” – through the construction of the Yangzi River Dam, which has increased the flow of the river. Besides producing an enormous amount of electric energy, ship navigation has improved. Despite the inundation of cultural heritage sites and of traditional villages and towns – forcing millions of people to relocate – tourism agencies predict an increase in tourist numbers. We, as humans, alter our landscapes so that they better fit our purposes. This raises questions about our perception of the natural world in centuries to come. Will we reconsider and preserve it, will we change it so it better serves our causes, or will we destroy it altogether to become a memory conveyed solely in a virtual world. My video installation plays with these future perspectives, while at the same time provoking thought.





Sun/Moon Symbol, Wyoming 2008


Sun/Moon Symbol was created during a performance/ritual in the Northern Wyoming prairie. Using my step’s length for measurement I laid out a circle and filled out its perimeter with rocks. Its 2 main axis points in the 4 cardinal directions, the intermediates are marked in between them. The symbol resembles ancient sun symbols, as they appeared in very similar ways in indigenous cultures throughout world. In many cases the same symbol simultaneously represented the moon.

I coated the rocks with phosphorescent paint, so that they would glow for several hours after sunset and created a counterpart to the stars in a deep black Wyoming night. The absence of the moon caused the earth to “disappear” from vision, so that the symbol appeared to be hovering.


Sonja Hinrichsen examines urban and natural environments through exploration and research. As an artist she feels the responsibility to address subject matters our society tends to neglect or deny, particularly adverse impacts to the natural world. Her work manifests in immersive video installations and interventions in nature. Her participatory project “Snow Drawings” engages communities worldwide. Sonja graduated from the Academy of Art in Stuttgart, Germany in 1997/98, and received a Masters degree in New Genres from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2001. She has been invited to group- and solo- exhibitions worldwide and has won numerous art residency awards.

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