Juliana Borinski — 1 + 1 = 0
1 + 1 = 0
Past: April 6 → May 5, 2012
The exhibition “1 + 1 = 0” originates from a hybrid work, whose nature is described by a paradoxical equivalence. This ambiguous object — which has been realised in unlimited edition since 2009 — gradually reveals itself as a knot of meanings, which activates a critical analysis of the European single currency and of the complex economical framework from which it emerges.
By cutting the nickel silver borders of two one-euro coins and by joining them in a configuration where two spheres get into contact, Juliana Borinski obtains an apparently harmless but striking product. This permutation interferes with the modes of functioning of money, as it rectifies its function and redirects its circulation. The metal coin — understood as a reserve of value which can be accumulated while keeping its fluidity — migrates from a status of “mean of exchange” to a status of “luxury good” and “design object”.
The illegal operation that initiates “1 + 1 = 0” breaks the symbolic integrity of the one-euro coin, disconnecting the equivalence between attributed value and exchange value. Borinski distils in the structure of this transient object a third sphere of value that doesn’t rest anymore on the system of trust underpinning the abstraction of money. This work appears as a real “billon”, taking into account a declared value that exceeds the amount of metal price, production costs and the intellectual property rights. Conceived as an action of diversion, “1 + 1 = 0” deeply integrates Borinski’s artistic production as far as it shares with all her works an iconoclastic attitude that she applies, in this particular case, to the prohibition of destroying money to extract metal. This aggression of one-euro coins brings to the foreground an enigmatic artistic value, proceeding from the dissolution of the monetary value. By creating confusion between the place of exhibition and the place of commercial transition, this proposal articulates a new reflection on the adoption of abstract currency as the intellectual bases of exchange in the permanent crisis situation.