One bar of gold, dripped #7, 2016
ca. 50 x 50 x 0.4 cm
2017 Some Lies Are Extremely Beautiful, Annet Gelink Gallery.
2016 Translating the standard gold bar (I only take risks I understand), solo exhibition at De Nederlandsche Bank
For her solo exhibition at De Nederlandsche Bank, Sarah van Sonsbeeck was invited to pay a visit to the bank’s vault that stores the Dutch gold reserve. Fascinated by the main ingredient inside the vault and the fact that it remains hidden and secure from the public, she requested to make a mold of the standard gold bar as the departure point for a new series of works. Although the artist continues to further investigate gold’s formal and conceptual qualities through this act, her visit to the vault took an unexpected turn as her eye wandered from the shiny blocks to the shelves on which the bars were stored. Unlike the form of the standard 400 oz gold bar, the form of the shelves was context specific to the architecture of the building. Van Sonsbeeck therefore decided to reproduce the shelves according to the materials she found throughout the building making a direct reference to the particular context in which these universally standardized objects were located.
By translating the shape of the standard gold bar, Van Sonsbeeck invites us to redefine its value from the commodity of gold to the commodity of art. It’s a continuing balancing act between intrinsic value and intellectual value.
When looking at these works the viewer translates the value of the standard gold bar into something more personal that is simultaneously more and less valuable. Usually puddles are associated with negative connotations such as dirt, flooding, waste or an accident. In her earlier series Mistakes I’ve Made, Van Sonsbeeck gave new life to the gold waste that was created whilst gilding other works. By associating the form of a puddle with a valuable material such as gold we are forced to question our personal value system that is comprised of both intrinsic and symbolic elements.