Peacock Island, 2009
Fingerprints on paper, wrapped in aluminum; placed under the original parquet floors of the Otaheite Cabinet in the castle on the Pfaueninsel (Peacock Island) near during restoration work in 2009. The parquet was last removed in 1870, so these fingerprints will probably remain there for the next hundred years.
The castle on the Pfaueninsel is a kind of pseudo-building whose one-dimensional architecture and construction are based entirely on illusion. The Otaheite Cabinet, a circular tea room, seems to oscillate peculiarly between antiquity and the South Pacific: it is lined with canvas and designed like a bamboo hut. In addition, the real windows have been filled with fictive views of an illusionistic exotic landscape in which the castellan’s house on the Pfaueninsel and the distant marble palace can be seen, surrounded by pineapples and parrots. The pattern of the wood floor is supposed to represent a cross section of a palm trunk. Otaheite is the former name of the South Pacific island of Tahiti.
Under the WoodI’m the only one, some say the last one but I don’t like that, it’s too negative, it sounds as if no one is coming after me. Maybe it’s true, who knows, that’s how it was with the others but that doesn’t mean it has to be the same with me. I’m not looking for a successor and no one is looking to be one either; my sons don’t want to, my daughter can’t and my assistant is too stupid, but I haven’t given up hope yet that one fine day a young man or a young woman with a bit of brains will knock at my door and say, ‘I’ll do it. I’ll keep it going.’ And if not that’s fine too, then it’ll just come to an end like everything comes to an end at some point; that’s the way of the world. Holding onto the past although circumstances have changed entirely is the quickest way to go under. I might as well throw myself straight in front of a train. I’ve seen what happens to those who clutched on to old times, who got up every morning and went to the workshop and dusted their machines until lunchtime. I’ve seen the blank order books and the blank faces, and I’ve heard them complaining about the present at the Beach Hotel in the evenings. And when I did say something about it, because I couldn’t take any more, I’d get an earful about how it’s easy for me to talk, my business is still ticking over. (...)