Exhibition explores the relationship between art and accounting

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 03 June, 2015, 11:37pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 03 June, 2015, 11:37pm

On the face of it, art and accounting would appear to have little in common, apart perhaps from the fact both disciplines place emphasis on the idea of "balance".

But their relationship goes deeper and is explored in Edouard Malingue Gallery's latest group exhibition "Balance Sheets".

The show's independent curator, Kit Hammonds, says while the concept of balance is well known in art and is used extensively by sculptors, it is also relevant in economics. A balance sheet is a physical example of this. "Whether there is a profit or a loss, there must be a balanced composition on a balance sheet," he says. Similarly, the notion of balance is an important element in formal and traditional artistic composition.

Through the works of nine artists from around the globe, Hammonds — who says he has long been intrigued by the balance found in both the art and financial world — wants to raise questions about their increasingly cosy relationship.

Artists feel this balance because their artwork is part of the economy, Hammonds says. As modern businesses, such as online search engine Google, are increasingly using cultural and artistic ideas within their business model and marketing, these two "different worlds" have come together in unique ways, he says.

To showcase diverse interpretations of this theme, Hammonds has gathered old and new works created by artists from different backgrounds and cultures. For example, Glasgow-based Irish artist Duncan Campbell will present his film that critiques the euro crisis, while Mexican artist Gabriel Kuri, who works in the US, makes a statement on consumerism with his "coin and cigarette butt board" sculpture.

While many of the pieces were created before Hammonds came up with the theme, he commissioned a work by two young, London-based artists — Lia Forslund and Franek Wardynski, both in their twenties. The two have collaborated to create a "critical text machine" that prints on demand a short narrative text on the financial market in the lead-up to the 2007 economic crisis, reflecting the consequences of value collapse.

The exhibition, which is part of the gallery's series of curatorial projects, will also showcase what Hammonds calls a "throwback" to economics before the era of the internet and technology. "Rather than looking at the technology behind businesses, we want to go back and look at the simple representations of economics through art," he says.

Balance Sheets, Edouard Malingue Gallery, 33 Des Voeux Road, Central, June 4-July 18