To reiterate a perspective from my artists's statement:

'In my view the artist's CV is an as of yet unexhausted storytelling tool in itself. For the past few years I have been experimenting with different models of presenting the artist's CV as a site where power relationships and conditional opportunities are at play, rather than a display of pure achievements based on merit.'

As an example, here is something I have learned about my biography late in life. After my birth, my mother organized for a West German friend to recognize paternity because my Bulgarian father would not since he feared for his reputation and soviet career. I neither have met the German friend nor my Bulgarian father, but the name on my birth certificate was the German's name. Upon immigration to Germany, my mother herself changed her Armenian name to a generic German one. Having gone to school here, she wanted to shield me and herself from being discriminated as Auslaender in the post-communist society of former East Berlin. The reports about neo-nazi attacks on immigrants were already signalling a change. The German friend's citizenship made it more easy on us to gain German citizenship than it would have been otherwise.

After I was told the truth about my origins, I realized that with this new name, I had been and continued to be shielded, but the fragmented lies I was told about who I was for the majority of my life had been a major influence. The worst part had always been that the more confusing aspects of my biography had often prompted questions from outsiders during my entire childhood, questions that, to my own bafflement, I was never able to answer to my own or another's satisfaction. In hindsight the failure was not on my side but the fact that I simply couldn't understand the whole of my biography myself based on the delicately interlaced parts of truth and fiction that I did have available.

Until recently, I have been mostly working under my name Beatrice Peter Schuett. In Bulgaria it is obligatory to add the paternal name to the official name, but of course I was only called by my first name. I began to use my middle name shortly after learning the truth about my origins, outwardly to add some distinction, but inwardly because the life-long confusion within myself finally could begin to be sorted.

After having had some years to process the facts, I now believe the man that gave me my name is a type of father - my document father. I don't know what would have been had he not been there and willing to agree to lend me his paternal identity. My mother had been afraid of Bulgarian soviet authorities, but also her own family.

Times are shifting. In the real world, it is still better to present as the majority as much as possible, even if looks may betray a European sounding name, and the birth country awakens suspicions, there is still a better chance to acquire a job or an apartment with the German native language and a fitting German name. Recently I have become aware that there is a tradition of legally changing one's name in our family. For instance, my grandmother changed it in Bulgaria to a name she considered more easily to pronounce, but it still had the Armenian suffix -ian, and perhaps reminded people of othermore famous people bearing the same surname.

And in the art world, an 'exotic' name sometimes is valued because it gives a promise of a different perspective from someone of a different background, even before a word has been uttered from the name bearer in question. Perhaps the cultural world, due to its elitist but supposedly progressive nature, is more keenly aware that both, 'a different perspective' and 'a different background' can be a valuable commodity while the rest of society catches on much later. Implicated sometimes in this premature curiosity is also that standing out sometimes means also not fitting in, which makes 'another perspective' possible. However, fitting in and standing out and the cost of sacrifice for this valuable perspective are also in the art world rarely discussed as something that happens here, too.

So in conclusion, a name can be a positive asset in certain circles, and a burden in others. I want to wear the name that would have been mine under different circumstances, and understand the different reactions I will be confronted with.
With an Armenian name there is no hiding possible, and conflicts may arise, or connections may form.