I’ve just come across the brochure for L’Argent, an exhibition of money related art that I visited in Paris during the summer. Pure coincidence, it was useful to see just before showing the cash machine photographs. Most of the pieces on show at Le Plateau were at least fifteen years old, and they did have a Duran Duran Smash Hits old school feel to them. Makes me realize that the bulk of art that involves a political charge is inevitably ephemeral.
There were early works by a lot of celebrated artists including Thomas Hirschhorn, Orlan, General Idea, Felix Gonzalez-Torres et al. Mostly wry comments or critiques of the nature of money; the dominant hold economics has over us all. Sophie Calle had still images from her video of peoples facial expressions and body language when withdrawing money from cash machines. Interesting contemporary portraiture.
By far the most enjoyable and provoking piece was a ten minute video work by Fikret Atay, Rebels of the Dance made in 2002. Two lads, egged on and ridiculed by their mates out of picture, perform a self-conscious dance either side of a cash machine that is located inside a banking hall. The situation is one anyone who uses a cash card must have experienced, loitering youth. For me it illustrates the irony that banks can provide unquestioned 24hour, heated drop in facilities, whilst those without are moved on, forced to seek shelter at bus stops or behind blustery bits of fencing.