Critics’ Picks

View of “Eva Barto,” 2016.

View of “Eva Barto,” 2016.

Paris

Eva Barto

gb agency
18 rue des 4 Fils
February 4–March 19, 2016

Eva Barto’s solo exhibition “The Infinite Debt” is a fact-or-fiction whirlwind of calculating and subversive actions. Her cunning infiltration of narratives surrounding corporate and financial power systems destabilizes our notions of authorship and art objecthood. The seeming “nothingness” we encounter here involves stories of toxic riches gained and inevitably lost.

On entering the first level of this gallery, you get the impression that you’ve walked into the aftermath of a fashion event—or even a robbery—as the place is littered with clothes racks, mirrors, and cinders. A cigarette butt is stubbed out on the wall: The whole place stinks. But then you start reading the long and detailed list of works on display and realize that the show is indeed this tableau of ravaged leftovers. Traces of a firm called TRUST are sporadically encountered. An announcement regarding its dissolution appears in the French financial newspaper Les Échos (Dissolution) (all works 2015–16), and an old gb agency gallery plaque haphazardly taped to the street window has the word TRUST hammered into it (Offshore). Everything seems to have been tampered with: the loaded dice (Downturn), leftover coins and mail, and a dilapidated radio bleating on about various economic scandals (Misfortune).

Barto references philosopher Maurizio Lazzarato and 1980s adventurer-gambler Cizia Zykë in the exhibition’s accompanying texts, and we are submerged into a world of seedy casinos, losses and gains, credits and debits. She plays “the game” in her project All In, where profits—maybe fictional, maybe real—are perpetually reinvested at a negotiation table. Collectors are invited to enter a deal of “infinite debt” with Barto—a clever artist and even cleverer con artist.