Markus Hanakam & Roswita Schuller

Die acht Schätze – 八宝

Markus Hanakam & Roswita Schuller

Die acht Schätze – 八宝

Exhibition in cooperation with Contemporary Art Advisors CAA

Exhibition

6 Sep 2016, 18:30

Location

Philips Haus, Triesterstrasse 64, 1100 Wien

Photography

© Hanakam & Schuller

The group of works of Die Acht Schätze (‘The Eight Treasures’) is formed by eight overpainted repro-photographs that Hanakam & Schuller have extracted from auction catalogs since 2014; all of them images of porcelain figurines from the 18th century — the prototypical image of an antique and also a collecting tank for the exoticisms of the time.

These Chinaware — the porcelain or elegant ‘chinoiserie’ represent the longing of the European upper class for the supposedly perfect world of the Orient and the Chinese empire, as it was known from stories of Marco Polo and other travelers. Besides the availability of imported artifacts made of porcelain, silk and wood, European porcelain manufactories also produced in the ‘new’ style, creating not only a fashion but also a colonized reference of material and content.

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Even in our everyday life today, the concept of the Eight Treasures is familiar, mainly from the menus of Chinese restaurants. In fact, the Eight Treasures — or Eight Riches — are elements of traditional Chinese aesthetics and iconology, they are composed of the even more extensive reservoir of the Hundred Treasures; motifs that have been depicted again and again in calligraphy as well as in other arts. Also in the mystical sense one meets the combination of the eight, like the eight precious organs of Buddha or the eight triagrams from the ancient Chinese Book of Changes ( I Ching or Yì Jīng ).

Hanakam & Schuller show with their repros in the presentation convention of the auction catalog porcelain figurines with a slight shadow in front of a neutral background. All selected objects can be assigned to the Rococo period. They are therefore neither ‘autonomous’ sculptures, nor ‘design’ objects in the proper sense cyet already products of serial production (for example, from the manufactories Meissen or Frankenthal). These objects are already hybrids between arts and crafts and everyday objects, even though they are still far from being accessible to the general public of the mid-18th century.

The artists literally exaggerate both the historical and contemporary deification of the artifacts when they apply aura fields to the repro photographs, which still reveal printing screens and lot numbers, in keeping with the common esoteric practice of taking aura photographs of people to characterize them. Various amorphous color fields of colored acrylic ink cover the images of the porcelain groups. The locally (in Austria) established gesture of overpainting, also a highly auratized art form, is ironically brought into play.

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