Can you hear it? A 100-euro bill is burning. We cannot see it being destroyed or feel the smell of burning paper, only listen to the sounds of the lighter and crackling. But is it actually happening?
It doesn’t really matter - Art is all about trust. When Domas van Wijk says he is burning a 100-euro bill in a sound piece, we should believe in it. “The sound of a 100 euro burning” is an immaterial piece of art, and conceptual artwork, as well as a digital piece and NFT, which deals with the possibilities Non-Fungible Tokens present to us. What real value does the piece have? Can a digital copy be worth the same as the original material? Do we believe in it even if we don’t see it? Is it art even if we cannot touch it?
This takes us to the unforgettable “Artist’s shit” by Piero Manzoni, one of the most important art pieces in recent history. When in 1961, the Italian artist claimed that the 90 tin cans were carrying 30 grams of feces, the story was so good that they were sold out even before anyone checked inside. In contemporary art, ideas come first and the media will come afterward to express them. NFTs are an updated and more technological version of this concept. Art and NFTs: everything relies on belief and trust!
“The sound of a 100 euro burning” is a limited NFT edition of 100 by van Wijk, which is being sold on Artpool platform alongside other 37 NFT works - mainly videos, GIFs, and photographs by 19 international artists: Cedar Lewisohn (UK), David Böhm & Jiří Franta (Czech Republic), Domas van Wijk (Netherlands), Florian Braakman (Netherlands), Fotini Gouseti (Greece), Harm Weistra (Netherlands), Ian Waelder (Germany), Iratxe Jaio & Klaas van Gorkum (Netherlands), Momu & No Es (Netherlands), Oana Clitan (Netherlands), Roi Alter (Israel), Thijs Ebbe Fokkens (Netherlands), Tudor Bratu (Netherlands), Vasiliki Sifostratoudaki (Greece), Yasser Ballemans & Erik Smits (Netherlands). All of them are taking part in the fundraising campaign organized by JOEY RAMONE, a one-of-a-kind space not founded by the frontman of the punk rock band the Ramones, but by Greek artist Kiki Petratou and Dutch collector and creative therapist Hans Bakker. As the Rotterdam-based space is about to celebrate 10 years in February 2022, Petratou is organizing a publication that brings together all the artists and designers they have been collaborating with in the past decade.
Like so many non-profits out there, the space needs help to fund this project. From January 4th, 2022 Artpool is hosting a campaign that will sell in total 252 NFT editions to raise funds for the anniversary publication.
A DUAL SPACE…
Titled ‘Dualities’, the project refers to the double personality of JOEY RAMONE. The name of the space makes fun of the traditional gallery model that very commonly adopts the name of its owner. JOEY RAMONE can be seen as a traditional commercial gallery because it sells works, takes part in fairs, and has a regular program of six exhibitions a year. On the other hand, it is also a platform that runs an irregular and intense side program with talks, performances, get-togethers, dinner tables, collaborations with non-profits, and participation in festivals.
“I was trained as an artist and JOEY RAMONE is my biggest art project”, says Kiki Petratou. “When we started it, we wanted it to have no labels. One day I am an artist, the other a curator, the following a gallerist, the other a host. Playing all these roles is fulfilling and refreshing”. 10 years ago, Kiki and Hans couldn’t even imagine that in three-years time they would have doubled the size of the venue, and be a leading independent initiative for the promotion of artistic practices in the Netherlands.
After a decade of hard work, now it’s their turn to ask for collaboration, and this is when Artpool comes into the scene. “Some of the artists asked me: why don’t you just do Kickstarter to fundraise? I reply that I don’t want to ask for charity. I want something more personal. I want to create a fundraising project that reflects our relations in the art world. That’s why Artpool is so appealing!”, explains Kiki.
This is the first time she and the majority of the artists of ‘Dualities’ are working with NFTs. “I understand some artists are still skeptical and don’t know how NFTs work. We are all experimenting and each of us has their different timing. Art and NFTs are all about trust”.
…AND SOME OF ITS AMAZING ARTISTS
In their work, the artists featured in ‘Dualities’ refer to social, political, and economic present conditions. Harm Weistra takes from the internet pictures of bombed areas in Syria and juxtaposes them to create an aesthetic and heavy atmosphere. The appealing photographs question the unconscious and stolid way we deal with images of wars and disasters nowadays. The Spanish duo Momu & No Es explore the virtual relations we experience today in short videos questioning the values in life and contemporary relationships. Another duo, Yasser Ballemans and Erik Smits are interested in rituals and how they are updated and expressed today. For the triptych ‘Fire Sculpture’, they have created a piece and burned it down, and the photos show it disappearing and leaving its trace.
History and memory are also important subjects for Romanian Tudor Bratu, who presents a series of photographs taken in his home country showing how urban environments in the former Eastern Bloc are shaped, and how they change over time. His own migration history to the Netherlands and complications his family faced in the turbulent years of post-war led him to explore issues like otherness and alienation. In her video, Oana Clitan also refers to the effects of WW2 as she investigates how cities such as Dresden and Rotterdam evolved after being destroyed, and how the bombing became part of the cities’ identities. Her project follows a fictional narrative in a future Rotterdam reimagined in today’s context of constant urban renewal, displacement of socio-economic groups, and the development of surveillance technology.
The fundraising project will run for a month on Artpool until February 4th, the actual birth date of the space. Everyone interested in buying one of these powerful NFT editions will also be helping JOEY RAMONE to make the artist’s book come true. At the end of the day, we are building a whole new network of trust.