When I was still in high school, I went to see art in Vienna with my parents. There we visited a former fellow student of my father in her atelier. Maria Hahnenkamp studied art alongside my father and worked as a sculptor. I was familiar with her work from an early age: it was delicate despite its vastness; it was subtly feminist and interdisciplinary in the classical sense, without obeying the rules.

© Illustration Florentin Aisslinger

It was the combination of opposites that also attracted me to this small object, and immediately caught my eye: an imposing, filigree, golden frame enclosing a soft piece of plastic in white, the kind in which perfume bottles are usually embedded. No taller than fifteen centimeters, the artwork was quite literally shining throughout the studio. Maria Hahnenkamp then told me that she was already known in the city‘s drugstores as the artist who always asked the staff to show her the packaging of perfumes.

After basically begging for it, I was able to acquire it from her for 500 DM with an insane discount, using the last of my saved pennies. Since then, this delicate, auratic object is always displayed on the largest wall of my apartment – because it needs space to shine.