Diorama: In Storage

Diorama: In Storage

The V&A’s great collection of South Asian textiles is stored in a severely functional, rational system of storage units such as might also be used in a different institution to house medical or legal records. This essentially modernist system, whose rationale is efficiency, is disturbed here by the eruption of an exquisite piece of nineteenth century beetle wing embroidery housed in one of the units, but coming from a culture dominated by other imperatives than the ‘purely’ rational. Ideas of the return of something repressed are also at work in this piece: there is a haunting of the functional storage units by the quite different world of their contents.