Critics’ Picks

Christodoulos Panayiotou, 2008, 2008, shredded money, 20’ diameter.

Rotterdam

“The End of Money”

Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art
Witte de Withstraat 50
May 22 - August 7

Christodoulos Panayiotou’s topical work 2008 makes a grand and confrontational opening installation in this exhibition. On first glance it appears to be a huge pile of cut grass, but on closer inspection, the clippings turn out to be the Central Bank of Cyprus’s shredded pounds, which the artist acquired from the institution after the country’s shift to the euro.

Dedicated to the relation between time and value, this show initiates a profound reflection on both the historical relativity of exchange systems and lessons to be learned today from those programs. This line of thought is sharply pursued in Zachary Formwalt’s video At Face Value, 2008, which uses overprinted postmark stamps from the Great Depression as a tool to visually expose the conventionality of symbolic value, and in Vishal Jugdeo’s Stage Design for Disassociation, 2011, a video and mixed-media installation depicting compulsory forms of assimilation in late capitalist society. Other standouts include Goldin+Senneby’s installation The Discrete Charm, 2011, a commissioned work for this show that critically addresses the detached self-referentiality of the current financial order as a metasystem. Much can also be gleaned from works that evoke postapocalyptic atmospheres, such as those by Fischli & Weiss, Maha Maamoun, and Agnieszka Kurant.

Curator Juan A. Gaitán addresses the absolute end of money as a hypothesis but ultimately dismisses it as a utopian idea. Yet the ambition to complement it with alternative systems that rethink the basic premises of social relations is refreshing. It is therefore only fitting that Witte de With accepts for admission e-flux’s Time/Bank hour notes, designed by Lawrence Weiner in 2010. A second work by Weiner provides the slogan A CHIP TAKEN OFF OF AN OLD BLOCK, which forms an act of systemic, linguistic resistance.