It is absolutely amazing that a system of global exchange can be based on a desire for a bright, yellowish, glittering metal. Gold is valuable, but its value does not originate in the realm of economics. Until very recently gold was the cornerstone of the world financial exchange and is still used as a hedge against inflation. In short, the most vital quantitative system on the planet (finance) has at its core a qualitative value judgment.
Gold provides a perfect foil for talking about the idea of beauty and value of aesthetic judgment. In some ways it is a reflection of the system that sends the values of art (read aesthetically relevant) objects sky high. In other ways it is an embodiment of the “purest of beauties.” That is, unlike artworks, it is least likely to be an object of speculative pricing; there are several international agreements to assure us that this will not happen. In this way we prop up our decision, care for it, and try to make sure that it is never questioned.
Strakovsky chooses to look at this process as a highly complex durational performance. This act is mirrored in The Erotic Life of XAU; one gram of gold is levitated using a helium balloon. For the sculpture to stay afloat and functioning, the balloon has to be refilled by the gallery staff for the entire duration of the show.
About the Artist
Dmitry “Dima” Strakovsky was born in St. Petersburg, Russia in 1976. He has lived in the United States since 1988. Strakovsky completed his MFA degree at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Department of Art and Technology and stayed in Chicago for several years producing art and working for various companies in the toy invention industry. In 2006 he began his full time academic career at the University of Kentucky (Lexington). Strakovsky’s work spans across diverse media: robotic/kinetic installation, sound, video, performance and graphic arts. His work has been included in a variety of exhibitions and events at venues such as Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, LA FREEWAVES 2008 and Moscow International Biennale for Young Art 2010.
Image courtesy the artist.