Claire Fontaine on display in Genoa: once brigands demanded either the purse or life, today capitalism takes both

From March 8 to May 5, 2019, Palazzo Ducale in Genoa is hosting 'The Bag and the Life,' an exhibition by the Claire Fontaine collective.

“’The purse or life!’ was the cry of the brigands; today capitalism demands both, our money and our time, our relational capacity being put to work and our adaptability to increasingly precarious financial conditions.” This is how the Claire Fontaine collective, born in Paris in 2004, explains the title of its solo exhibition, The Purse and Life, on view from March 8 to May 5 at the Loggia degli Abati at Palazzo Ducale in Genoa.

The exhibition presents a selection of works around the idea of value and frugality, in relation to the establishment in Genoa in 1407 of one of the world’s first banking institutions, the House of Compere and Banks of San Giorgio. The selection of works revolves around the concept of economy and explicitly poses the problem of the fragility of our material well-being in a world exposed to the fluctuations of stock market values that have become a metaphor for the threatening reversibility of everything.

Claire Fontaine transforms the exhibition space of the Loggia degli Abati through the installation specially conceived for the exhibition, Newsfloor, which completely covers its floor with copies of Il Sole 24 Ore. Newspaper-floors make visitors “float” on topical economic news, the place looks as if there is work in progress and the exhibition is still being assembled.

The works were chosen not only on the basis of their subject matter, but also naturally on the basis of their interaction, their dialogue, the polarizations of their mutual positions. The exhibition is conceived as a discourse, a set of visual phrases that combine and intertwine with each other and find a connection both in the floor installation and in a series of textual interventions along the walls of the space. Indeed, an integral part of the path is a series of texts by Claire Fontaine combined with quotations on the economic history of Genoa, curated by the Department of Economics of the University of Genoa.

Citing the practices inaugurated by Félix Gonzáles Torres, where works do not expose their own process of construction, but the form of their presence and their inevitable dispersion, Claire Fontaine offers some works as gifts to visitors: a mass of tokens, coins with no purchase value, but with the use value of being able to unhook a supermarket trolley, bears the words Please God Make Tomorrow Better. And again, a stack of posters on which we find reproduced an excerpt from The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge by Rainer Maria Rilke in which the writer describes the appearances of different social classes as a pantomime, where the beggars of the streets could at any moment unmask us and show us each belonging to the world of the dispossessed.

Among the exhibited works, Secret Money Paintings, made with real coins, include reflection on the economic value of painting and trade from the art system. Sculptural works, again with real coins artistically transformed as Change allude to methods of protecting oneself from an economic system that excludes the weakest.
While in Untitled (Money Trap) the artist has had a safe pierced so that the hand can enter it open but not leave if closed, evoking greed and also exhibiting the illusory aspect of security devices.

Curated by Anna Daneri, the exhibition will be introduced by an installation around the history of Genoese finance created in collaboration with the Department of Economics of the University of Genoa. Guided tours of the Bank of Italy vault are also planned during the exhibition.

Claire Fontaine is a conceptual and feminist art collective founded in Paris in 2004 and based in Palermo. A 2013 finalist for the prestigious Prix Marcel Duchamp, she has exhibited in international museums and festivals including The Jewish Museum in New York, Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts in San Francisco, Museion in Bolzano, Neuer Berliner Kunstverein, Städtische Galerie Nordhorn, Shanghai Biennial at The Power Station of the Arts and Le Confort Moderne, Poitiers.

To learn more about the exhibition you can visit the official website of the Ducal Palace.

Source: release

Claire Fontaine on display in Genoa: once brigands demanded either the purse or life, today capitalism takes both
Claire Fontaine on display in Genoa: once brigands demanded either the purse or life, today capitalism takes both

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