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Translating the standard gold bar (I only take risks I understand) – Sarah van Sonsbeeck

Others De Nederlandsche Bank - Art Gallery

Westeinde 1
1017 ZN Amsterdam
+31 (0)20 5242183

Open Mon - Fri / 9-17 hrs
+ by appointment

Visitors will be asked to show valid proof of identity.

20 Apr — 3 Jun


Credits: Sarah van Sonsbeeck, ‘One bar of gold, dripped’, 2016 (detail). Brass.

From 20th April to 3rd June 2016, DNB’s Art Gallery hosts a solo exhibition of new work by Sarah van Sonsbeeck. Inspired by her visit to DNB’s vault on the occasion of its bicentenary celebrations in 2014, the artist reflects on our national gold reserve in this collection of works. Carolyn Drake will write an essay on van Sonsbeeck’s work for this occasion, accompanying the exhibition.

Extract from a conversation with Krist Gruijthuijsen, Director of Grazer Kunstverein/KW Berlin

Krist: You’re translating gold bars for De Nederlandsche Bank. So in essence, you reduce everything back to this standard shape, even if that shape itself is absent from the exhibition. You’re infiltrating something that mustn’t be removed: the gold bar. De Nederlandsche Bank allowed you to make a gold bar mould right there in the vault, which effectively is a performative act. Hence you’re translating that shape back again. Aren’t currency, circulation, money, coins and banknotes also a translation of value? And, by the way, who determined the shape of gold bars anyway?

Sarah: Maybe a goldsmith was simply requested to ‘ find a practical shape for gold, and make an ingot mould’. But gold always has a history. The Inca people made objects like cups and even hairpins out of gold! They weren't concerned with the monetary value of the material, but rather its physical and mythical qualities. When visiting the vault, I was fascinated by the gold bar as a functional object, as well as how you could transform it.

Krist: Perhaps the shape of the gold bar is the most non-functional shape.

Sarah: Perhaps it is.


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