If you're in London this week, you can see my latest artwork at Lubomirov / Angus-Huges Friday 13th May, 6-9pm, an experimental piece exploring international economic systems, made of cut paper we use every day: money.
Comitragedy (2016), Acrylic on money (2 CNY and 2 USD), 31 x 13cm (12 x 5 in)
Verso of money remains green. Temporarily mounted on gold Chinese paper typically burned or folded to bring wealth to ancestors or the home
An extension of the Greenbacks Project, where I've been asking participants in Hong Kong and Beijing (and in Summer 2016 - the US) to share words they thought of, when they thought about money. I then carved the responses into 500 USD$1s and five hundred Chinese 1 Yuan bills, which will be assembled into a large-scale paper tapestry. Many responses were emotional: some miserable and trapped, others had sensations of freedom and happiness. Comitragedy’s two-sided image was created with references to a Chinese opera mask (L) and a Greek theater mask from Athens (R).
This artwork will be shown in a curatorial project at Lubomirorov/Angus-Hughes in Hackney. Work in this group show has a maximum price of 240 Euro, as a reminder of the financial strait of Greek citizens who can withdraw maximum 60 Euro per day. I decided to create a pricing structure that incorporates similar ratios to international production costs of objects we use every day that were made in China, into a piece of art made in China. China is the production center for most goods used in the world today, and many of the costs associated with these products come from first world distribution networks, rather than labor costs.
The Greenbacks project desanctifies the pieces of paper used every day as currency of our lives. I return them to the material they're made of by covering recognizable aspects with paint, and rendering the money useless for anything but art.
Beijing’s minimum wage (where I live): 18.7CNY per hour (2.55 Euro at time of writing).
Total time for art production: 6 hours – designing, paper cutting, packing, and shipping to London (6 x 2.55 = 15.3 Euro)
Estimated shipping via FedEx: US$70 (62.11 Euro)
Materials cost: US$2 (1.77 Euro) + 2CNY (.27 Euro)
Exhibition Entry Fee: 12 pounds (15.29 Euro)
Total Artist Portion for the work: 94.75 Euro
Final price including gallery commisison: 189.48 Euro
You're welcome to stop by the gallery from 6-9pm this Friday 13th May to view the entire show, portions of which will later be exhibited at Art Athina in Athens, Greece.
Elizabeth Briel is an American artist who lives and works in Beijing