Artwork Made Out Of $20,000

Discussions in Chat

Rebecca Gabrielle Cannon said 11 years ago

Interesting piece in The Age about Denis Beaubois’s conceptual artwork about the valuation of art:

THE Australian dollar was last night fetching 87.5¢ … against the Australian dollar.

The artwork Currency, 2011 sold for $17,500 (plus buyers commission and GST of $3850) when it went under the hammer at Deutscher and Hackett in South Yarra last night.

That was a slightly disappointing result for a work with an estimated range of $15,000 to $25,000, and a genuine bargain for a work with a face value of $20,000.

The work, by artist Denis Beaubois, consists of 200 new $100 notes, stacked and bound in two piles, and accompanied by a list of the notes’ serial numbers.

According to the catalogue, the work ‘’raises fascinating questions’’ about the way contemporary art is valued.

The materials used by Beaubois have intrinsic value, but only if the work itself is broken up and destroyed. Intact, its value was unknown until 7.04pm last night when, under the watchful gaze of two security officers, it was auctioned to a packed house.

Beaubois funded the work with a $20,000 grant from the Australia Council. He told The Age last month he stood to make no profit from the project. ’’I’m not getting paid a cent,‘’ he said. ’’If it’s sold, the money I make will be used to finance part two of the project, which is a series of performance/video works on the division of labour, and capitalism.’’

In the end, after paying his vendor commission of 10 to 15 per cent plus GST, Beaubois is likely to have made a paper loss of about $5000. Though technically that would be a polymer loss.

He has described the subject matter of Currency as ‘’the tension between the economic value of the material against the cultural value of the art object’‘. That tension would be ’’explored through the process of the financial transaction’’ – by selling the work at auction.