Critics’ Picks

Goldin+Senneby, Money Will Be like Dross, 2012. Performance view.

Goldin+Senneby, Money Will Be like Dross, 2012. Performance view.



Crystal Contemporary Art
Hudiksvallsgatan 4B
January 12–February 11, 2012

The sole object exhibited in Goldin+Senneby’s current show is an eighteenth-century furnace once owned by the alchemist August Nordenskiöld, designed to make gold. But it only serves as garnish for the more compelling works related to the exhibition. On the night of the opening, buses departed from the gallery for Drottningholm Theatre—a majestic playhouse. It was an evening of prestidigitation that announced the duo’s new investment fund, reportedly designed by an anonymous programmer and systems architect: the Nordenskiöld Model Trading Fund.

En route in my bus, an actor playing Senneby introduced the occasion. He read aloud a letter by a playwright named Pamela Carter, which outlined a forthcoming play. This was apparently an open rehearsal, and the goal of the ride was to get passengers up to speed on Nordenskiöld’s alchemy, particularly his experiments on the grounds of Drottningholm. Remarkably, Nordenskiöld never sought alchemy’s riches but rather secretively aimed at making such immense quantities of gold as to expunge its worth—releasing man from monetary tyranny. Once seated in the theater, a magician performed acts evoking issues of duplication. Repeatedly stating, “You need gold to make gold,” she did one stunt that had audience members’ wedding bands disappear and reappear; another trick replicated bottles.

The magic and Nordenskiöld were key elements, of course, in the work. The bus ride was mere necessity and the guided tour was simple, pedagogical filler. And indeed, as was made clear on the bus, this is one part of an extensive project with more to come. But the work on this occasion, which was essentially the debut of their intricately structured fund, made Goldin+Senneby appear as tricksters pulling the strings, as it were, backstage—puppet masters with a fund as real as their fictitious selves that lectured on the busses. However, while the market is extremely volatile and professional money managers seem perplexed about what’s currently happening, Goldin+Senneby’s experiments with finance by way of Nordenskiöld’s utopian ideals might, after all, be exactly what’s needed, even though their fund could very well be double or nothing.