Dima Strakovsky: The Erotic Life of XAU
Photograph by Robert Dickes
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. It is beautiful, pretty, shinny and a whole list of other "fuzzy" adjectives. 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; for the sculpture to stay afloat and functioning, the balloon has to be continually refilled with helium.