“Golden Lacquer Box”, essay for Anna Sagström’s exhibition at Garret Grimoire, Vienna, 2016

Text written to accompany Anna Sagström’s exhibition 8 Pillars of Trust, 7 Pillars of Wisdom / The Hills at Garret Grimoire, Vienna, 2016.


Consider the labor entailed when the goal was to gain mastery of all surfaces; for no one thing is like another.

– Rainer Maria Rilke

As many things do, this historical crusade opens with a sudden death. An event at a time when nothing is necessarily possible or impossible and everything exists in relation to histories being told, circuits maintaining their vitality by a hidden committee’s lubrication. The notion of the unknown herein provides an introduction to a conundrum constructed to remain opaque. While rays of light leak from behind a curtain someone picks up a scribbled note from the wooden panels illuminated by the intentional cleavage of two, it reads: if all living beings capture diffuse energy creating order out of internal chaos of impossible assembles where does the human order go posthumously?

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Vengeance of Lack, Dreams of Lacquer

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Little wrap, you'll be mine

Desired, Acquired

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Mantras, something being carried away in loops of repetition. Between regularities and patterns a space is carved out functionalized by pieces of furniture inviting to different positions, a different positioning. Bending, adjusting, displacing the body an exercise for everyone inhabited in the claustrophobia shrinking the outlines of a defined space. If all things differentiate between two letters a signpost providing the wrong direction is the contingent necessity of a new resort. By this, slides seem more plausible as an instrument to some. If the equipment is available the enactment is also approachable. If considered being a sensorially sensitive dependent on a constant equilibrium between the senses going to the alps seemed like an ill-suited idea. Renouncing from the embodiment of a vision by blurring purpose with pertinence.

Everything in this place, I realize, is very shiny. There is nothing to grip onto with these marbled surfaces. Its lack of tactility makes me panic.

Memories slide through a blanketed landscape.

Yellow Gold Red Yellow Armchair Yellow Color Gazette Yellow Palais Golden Lacquer Box Titan Gold Louise's Hair Vermeer's Wien of Delts Yellow Gold Red Yellow Armchair Yellow Color Gazette Yellow Palais Golden Lacquer Box Titan Gold Louise's Hair Vermeer's Wien of Delts Yellow Gold Red Yellow Armchair Yellow Color Gazette Yellow Palais Golden Lacquer Box Titan Gold Louise's Hair Vermeer's Wien of Delts

Amid this lucid narrative where doubt plays fiction and risk the protagonist someone reads a  story a second time, underlines a part of personal traction in the lining it reads: Golden Lacquer Box. The bookmark comes to rescue here becomes a temporary placeholder for an instant vision. Scribbled, the note is sandwiched between two chapters resting restlessly. Before resigning on a chaise lounge the protagonist strolls through the clichéd gestures comprised this very day. In these cushioned memories there seem to be no allowance for deviation, only a celebration of abandonment of residues. Scribbles are the only things that remains in the margin of decay. Feel this sudden rift in the lacquer causing the lack of self-navigation. A hack, hijack of control, an increased portion of pleasure.

I'd say: any empirical generalization can be modified.

You: so why are we even talking?

Someone would open that book and find a note reading: "Propose a genealogy where porcelain was brought to the working class. As an inverted yet more complex transaction of value exchange." On the back of the note a more detailed vision would be traced; "Maybe describe a scenario where people are being called in from all over the world to participate in a Viennese porcelain competition. An uncanny lack of orientation omnipresent amongst the participants upon receiving the invitation. Think of the debris of a destroyed porcelain item and think of the pattern the crushed parts create so suddenly a sign appears. Appearance is not the existence but hint to the lack: though them the invited participants being highly invested in the subject matter the invitation entails, none of them can recall making an application or proposal to be part of the competition. The erasure of memory and the closure of all of the participants past is hence the first symmetry exercised by The Organization…" and further down a sobered voice; "This story makes an attempt to discuss how history is organized and interlaced next to dialectical materialism. What is it that make an object an object of desire, or maybe: who is the judge of abstract labor?.”

Embroideries of macro and micro, surfaces on polished du Paquier porcelain. What appears is a genealogy of labor, a grid of regional dialectics constituting a refinement of universality and particularity. Molded and coagulated in barrels filled with aesthetic value, over time draped in layers of undoing until incorporated in implicit argumentation and organization. Abstraction as surreptitious mechanisms, resting on the tongues of the ruling class caressing fictitious capital with their teeth. Nothing to grip onto, nothing to sense, clean surfaces depriving tactility. With rhetoric weapons resting on their laps, and a mutual trust to conceal physical bodies of commodity, they hire eight servants to keep this order in stasis.

It’s a layered reality where only the finest spin downwards. The spiral, a continuous bow.

Those neatly folded hotel towels metaphors of histories folding themselves recycling human material interference yet remaining white and crisp. Tourists wipe their dirty hands disposing themselves in a continuum of bad manners. We all know this story, the story of the man who went insane in a hotel and attempted to kill his wife and son. Now consider the attributes constituting a designated space, then consider the objects contained in that same space. What does the relational functions of that space and its containment produce? Is it possible to foresee how a plausible encounter with the space taken into consideration may be played out? The vagueness still occupying the visualization from the poor description will thoroughly and continuingly be filled in. To situate an exchange further; what body is perceptive to the nuances and layers of the causality appearing at the intersections of this environment?

“They may be speaking of an aesthetic value, but to what extent does this fetishizations of an object and its purity reflect an idea that these men had about themselves? Porcelain is for the refined, for the ruling class, with all of its power and privilege.”

That someone dwells for a minute, asks or proposes: if all this is allusions, invented juvenile fetishizations of the site specific stories, how come the plot still resonates on a mind/body scale? Do fabrications ever come without attachment?

Eight pillars of trust is the foundation on which your coated appearance rests. Seven pillars of trust is the withdrawal of one, declination of trust, of knowledge being the foundation, of words. Failing to describe. A celebration of abandonment, a punishment of the future resting in its cocoon.

That which finds the final destination of a material enmeshes the grains of adjustments. Emails interrupting a lineage of thought, tenses colliding against each other, frustration of the written being an incomplete representation. A conservative force formulates a clue and veils the solution with a velvet curtain. What remains is the surface, the soft satisfaction of solidified uncertainties.

Thus the weight of the velvet curtains that offers the service to veil. With only one movement of the hand, a vertical cut through the crust of the bourgeoisie. Vienna 1740.