Sunday, February 18, 2018

Sarah Morris at Berggruen


"Both Morris’s paintings and luxury merchandise operate like memory-obliterating machines. In order to arouse the consumer’s intense longing for a brand-name product - a creamy, lustrous lipstick by Clinique, for instance - memory must be successfully erased. Flagrantly confronted with the object of desire, we gladly relegate to oblivion all good intentions, as well as the knowledge of what we really need and what we have already accumulated. Sensible recollection gives way to an irresistible longing, whose presence is far more intense and acute. 
“Morris’s paintings must also reckon with two kinds of desire: either, we surrender to them, pleasurably allowing ourselves to be mirrored in their high gloss surfaces, or we simply take them to be a strategic attempt to launch a trademark and scrutinize them no further. One might then conclude that this seems to be no different from the various ways in which ordinary brand-name products are perceived. But there is a telling difference. Morris’s paintings offer not only the object of desire but its flip side as well: a desire that does not want to be ‘fulfilled’ and is defined by absence. They show us the dizzying voids and abysses that open up the moment we succumb to desire [...] the trance-like feeling that follows hard on shopping spree: for instance when you’ve finally given in to your passionate desire to buy that lipstick. But instead of ‘satisfaction,’ you find yourself facing an even greater void...”  - Isabell Graw "Reading the Capital"
That hammering emptiness that writers with less deft than Graw attempt backfilling with all they reference they can mine from titles and films to go interminable explications of the architecture they repute to reference, of displays of information signaling content, data, that they lack actually denoting, just the impact of information's look with hollow drums like conga lines.