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Gemuce - Pompílio Hilário

Money Crunch

2009

Money itself isn't lost or made. It's simply transferred from one perception to another.
Gordon Gekko in Oliver Stone's 1987 film, Wall Street.
An exploration of the credit crunch during the festive season

Gemuce came to Huntly from Maputo, Mozambique for a three-month residency in the run up to Christmas in 2009.

Gemuce's residency took place during Christmas, a period associated with consumption, exchange, spending money and 'being good'. The growing impact and implications of the 2007 financial crises provided him with the backdrop for his work. Gemuce explored personal debt in the local context while making comparisons to the national debt crisis in Africa and our relationship with giving. Questioning the effect that the spirit of consumption has on our daily lives, Gemuce's work confronted our inability to manage without money, while investigating how those who have benefited from modern money exchange have become slaves to the power of world finance.

 

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As an artist that uses media ranging from drawing and painting to installation and video, Gemuce has developed a practice with which he explores political and social concerns and their inherent paradoxes and dichotomies. Reversing and questioning the logic of societal roles, he has increasingly become drawn to the (ir)rational structure of the global monetary and credit system, and its relationship with various cultures.

Money Crunch specifically plays on the ironies that accompany Christmas, and the extended run-up to the festive season in the UK. The high street witnessed a black Santa Claus and a white Zwarte Piet visiting the institutions and public areas of Huntly, where they conducted their own market research, finding out about the public's opinions regarding money, credit and gift giving. Reversing roles and turning north and south upside-down, Gemuce revealed an inherent fragility in western expectations. Developing his process of critical inquiry from his research questionnaires, Gemuce created a new bank in the Huntly Square. Abundant in their numbers and functionality in Africa, the Calabash possesses an inherent value through its various applications. Known to be a storage vessel for food and water, a tobacco pipe, a musical instrument and a tourist souvenir, the Calabash represented an object of seemingly infinite potential, compared to the single-dimensioned objects we spend great sums of money on every year, such as iPods and Blu-Ray players. In exchange for a Calabash, Gemuce required his customers to share ideas with him - replacing debt with hope for the future.

The event was accompanied by an arts breakfast discussion: Why Are Artists Poor? with visual artist and economist Hans Abbing, hosted by Merlyn Riggs.

Shadow CuratorIain Irving

     

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