Linde Burkhardt Texte

Florian Hufnagel: Preface Catalogue „The Dowry of the Princess of Trebizond“


The ceramic work “Die Mitgift der Prinzessin von Trapezunt” (The Dowry of the Princess of Trebizond) is unusual in many respects and can only be read as Linde Burkhardt’s complex and many-side credo as an artist. The work consists of a host of individual elements piled up upon each other, and organized as seven stele. The materials, color and finishing chosen lend the ensemble a precious appearance. We are left to use our imagination to associate specific forms with the elements, be it a centerpiece or pedestal, be it dishes or vases, little treasure chests, jewelry boxes or some other kind of precious item. In short, wealth is revealed in great opulence and diversity.

Dowry cannot be depicted in a more abstract or sensual manner. And the fact that we cannot assign clearly defined functions to the individual objects is only too understandable, after all, which mortal has ever questioned the usefulness of a royal dowry! But, how relevant is useful? Wealth is not trammeled to utility. These are the gifts produced by the land whence the princess comes. All seven cities have made a contribution, which is why the seven columns are so different for all that they combine to form a treasure: the dowry of the princess.

Irish Hollywood actress Maureen O’Hara would certainly have made a magnificent Princess of Trebizond. Her film “The Quiet Man” from the 1950s (while old- fashioned and macho-like with John Wayne as an ex-boxer) centers on the topic of the dowry. Suddenly you understand that dowry was a decisive factor with regard to equality of the sexes. Maureen O’Hara refuses to consummate her marriage to John Wayne, but not because she does not love him, but because her brother will not release her dowry since he does not approve of her choice. And without a dowry she is not an equal partner. Only when she has her dowry can she enter the marriage as a free woman making a free decision.

And the ruler’s daughter from the Empire of Trebizond on the Black Sea also travels to Portugal to marry the king, travels from the East to the Western periphery of the earth as it was then known. Not to return. A tale that repeatedly inspired artists, and it is fascinating to follow them down through time from Pisanello’s frescoes through to the Opera buffa by Jacques Offenbach.

Linde Burkhardt’s work is a post-modern statement made at a point when the world was just entering the age of globalization; it transfers to bygone days an event that unravels outside of the civilizations living around the Mediterranean, all of which had collapsed and who found in Trebizond a final place of refuge, protection from the invasion by the crusaders 1204, and by that of the Ottomans in 1453. The journey the Princess of Trebizond makes is an attempt to journey to new shores after the old world has collapsed.

And it is good to know that this work by Linde Burkhardt is in the Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich, as it was the Bavarian academic Philipp Fallmerayer, who in 1827 first researched into the history of this empire.

Florian Hufnagel, Director general
Die Neue Sammlung
The International Design Museum Munich

Images of the exhibition pieces