The Point Is To Exchange It
Curated by Leah Pires
27.7 – 25.8.2018
Kevin Jerome Everson
Opening Friday July 27th
6 – 9pm
Phoebe d’Heurle, OR_Quick on the Trigger, 2018. Courtesy the artist
“The matter at issue is the appearance or self-announcement of something as something else, the rhetorical structure of simile or metaphor (als, comme): semblance, shine, simulation or dissimulation. In those societies where the capitalist mode of production prevails, something (economic) shows itself by hiding itself, by announcing itself as something else or in another form.”
Thomas Keenan, “The Point is to (Ex)Change It: Reading Capital, Rhetorically” (1993)
Money is the universal equivalent—or so it is said. But exchange always entails a degree of abstraction. To trade one thing for another, you have to bracket their differences and let this stand in for that. Images and words, too, act as uneasy equivalents for what they claim to represent. In a chain of substitutions, meaning veers off course. The works in this exhibition are all forms of currency, a matter they also address through their form. They were brought here through a series of unorthodox exchanges.
In Paris Spleen, Baudelaire describes a man who passes a counterfeit coin to a panhandler in an apparent act of generosity. It might be converted into real money, or it could “serve as the seed for several days’ wealth, in the hands of a poor, small-scale speculator”—but it might also land him in jail through no fault of his own. The coin is, in multiple senses, “more than he had hoped for.” If a fake circulates as the real thing, would it be foolish to argue otherwise?
Currency is just a substitute; the point is to exchange it. Are you getting more than you had hoped for?