Lotus Capital

Contribution for i, a publication edited by Maricruz Alarcón and Ilyn Wong for the exhibition I scarcely have the right to use this ghostly verb at Parsons/The New School, New York, NY.


In a dream, my inner voice—the voice I talk to my self with, the principal support and central column of my self—shifted from solid to hollow. It became an “I” shaped door. Everything that came through it took its shape and sounded like my voice. I walked through the door and on the other side there were voices of many different shapes, a cacophonous crowd seeking to push their way through the door: the voices of others, the unconscious wishes of others, my own obscure desires, fragments from advertisements, words from characters in books, my memories, former selves, and the dead.

I bumped into Claude Monet. He asked me what I was doing here. I explained that I had been drinking blue lilies, had walked through this door, and… He laughed and told me he used to consume lots of them—the blue ones, imported from Egypt. In ancient times he said they were called lotuses and drunk with wine. He explained that in his intoxicated state he had seen in an abstract way, and began to see the possibility of an abstract art.

Claude recounted his excitement in discovering that the soporific effect of the lily could be partially transmitted through his paintings—consumed by the eyes rather than directly imbibed. But he quickly fell into lament, cursing the way the subsequent proliferation of abstract images had primed people’s perceptions for other forms of abstraction. He waved his hand in a dissmissive manner and proclaimed abstract images had become the sheets and blankets on a bed of a dream-filled sleep. I listened as Claude loathed the way artworks themselves had even become ersatz certificates of value, filling equity funds and hedge funds as though they were linen closets for abstraction.

He said: “I sought to supply an illusion of an endless whole, of water without horizon, like the lily experience itself. How could I have known the stupor inducing properties of these abstract images would form such a potent cocktail when mixed with money? I’m sorry—I didn’t realize what I was doing. The lily had made me drunk.