Photograph: Real Flow, Installation view by Sebastian Bach, courtesy of K.
A recent exhibition by the Real Flow collective and an upcoming one by Wong Kit Yi both at K. in New York feature works which incorporate ideas and practices from the financial world either as the exhibition’s’ actual medium or as a methodological about face in the way art can be produced, priced and circulated. The first exhibition borrows heavily from concepts developed and articulated by Suhail Malik, in “The Ontology of Finance” published in the recent issue of Collapse Journal. A theorist and faculty member at both the Department of Art at Goldsmith London and Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College, Malik is also a member of the Real Flow collective. The exhibition consisted of mid size abstract paintings which could be used as the basis for the exchange of futures and derivatives. The second exhibition North Pole Futures is produced as a collaboration between the artist and her curator alter ego Ali Wong. It features a web based system which allows collectors to participate in the art production by making aesthetic and conceptual choices from a list of preset elements which will then be incorporated into the actual work of art by the artist on a traveling ship. There are also works either already produced (Where 6: “Prediction,” with Sarah Meyohas) or about to be (artist confidentiality) that involve the utilization of cryprocurrencies as either the medium of the work or a part of its production cycle. It seems that through practicing finance, these artmaking strategies, one way or the other, abstract art’s mode of financial existence into its general reason dterre. Thus, they attempt to turn art’s weakest link, the market, into its strength. The question that arises then is, can critically navigating financial processes and rivalling its dominant currency offer art an exit from contemporary art?