He was small, unattractive and sickly, with a thin angular body and brown, deep-set eyes in a pale triangular face. When I first chanced to meet him, in his delirious garden of mismatched things, he was crouching, affectionately dusting off a small Corinthian scroll, his face possessed by satisfaction.
-Hey you there! What is the meaning of all this whimsy? Was it bongo week at Lidl?
– Hmmmm… I see you’re interested in my discoveries, yeah mmm, they’re nice no? You don’t fathom to appreciate the importance of this, come closer, behold this excellent watering pot from the garden of John Tradescant. Take it in your hands, touch it, feel it!
It was free of even the tiniest grain of dust. To decipher the implication behind his crocodile grin would have been impossible. An inconsistent mix of ornamental stone objects of seemingly discordant origins was standing all over the place, leaning or hanging from the glassed-in terrace. All around exotic plants had sprung up according to a system I’d never seen before.
In the cage pranced a cockatoo.
-There is no doubt something happy-making about these innovations, but tell me, how does it work? Do you need a permit?
– Well you see this is a field of paramount beauty, it’s a gathering of my vision of true artistry, and the insights come from within, not from somebody external to this logic—I’m the creator of this, I’m the real artist!
His eyes were rolling around in their sockets and he was going on in an increasingly delirious way, starting to move around touching one object after the other as he spoke. He added in hushed tones,
This petrified search for perfection of detail that soothed his fantasy and his complex aesthetic sensations began to exhaust me.
-You must excuse me now I’m growing hungry, can you tell me what time is the midnight buffet?
– Ah I see, you have come for the smorgasbord! The Dinner will be served at quarter passed three, but in the meantime please have a seat in the hammock between the cherry trees and I will call for Olga to serve you some refreshments, what would you like to drink? We have a rather well equipped bar here.
He rubbed his hands as he fetched a shiny bronze bell that he started to shake with frenzy. As I turned around and looked over the meticulously cut lawn I noticed a group of prospering fruit trees, behind which a table was being laid out, with a most appetizing mixture.
The dust on the watering pot was starting to grow back, a thin film was forming on the side, with opalescent and iridescent whirls of an uncertain nature, of colors vague and changing.
Text by Zoe Barcza and Emanuel Röhss