Direct from Bucharest, this plate takes cross-sections of thriving little worlds and saturates them with the pinks and yellows of Otto Wagner’s Majolikahaus. Always, always saturated stains, dense pigments and chromatic symbiosis. All these specimens posit that to know life’s secrets is to distinguish between different colors, to discern the subtle changes between two forms. But the rule of abstraction isolates each specimen, and belies the fact that each microcosm is part of yet another ecology, another, larger world.
In a studio not too far away, Gustav Klimt was laboring over his own set of cycloptic forms. As the Viennese artist built up this cartoon for one of his best known paintings, he pushed colored shapes against one another, fit tesserae alongside edges, and began to evoke the electricity that pulses through the body — indeed, through the nervous system whose parts are captured by our stained cells. Klimt’s mosaic favors the diversity of particulate worlds, where a plurality of little bits supports the electricity of one person enveloping another. And meanwhile our specimens remind us of the miniature universes that luminess and pulse between them.