press release

Everything Must Go explores the relationship between contemporary art, economics and value, emphasizing the ways in which monetary and historical value accrues through qualities that might appear peripheral to the artwork itself: context and display, provenance and ownership, reputation and rarity.

In Eric Fischl's Art Fair paintings, collectors, dealers, critics and curators, mingle amidst a backdrop of contemporary artworks. These large canvases capture the uniquely frenetic atmosphere of the art fair, the hype and expenditure that drives the market and elevates the value of certain works. Ni Haifeng displays a number of everyday items, acquired from the home of a prominent art collector, and, in doing so, demonstrates how ownership itself confers an importance to certain objects. Amie Siegel's installation looks at how artworks become integrated within the art economy, as her film Provenance traces in reverse the global trade in Modernist furniture. In Lida Abdul's Brick Sellers of Kabul, a procession of children line up to re-sell the bricks and masonry salvaged from destroyed buildings, offering insight into how markets can emerge in the most inauspicious circumstances.

Victor Burgin combines critical texts with photographs of commercial advertisements to comment on the social and cultural changes in 1970s American society. Christopher Williams' images similarly explore the conventions of advertising and the superficiality of surface, while, in Walead Beshty's photographs, the artist is portrayed as an exhausted shopper, collapsing headfirst into the consumer goods that surround him. Suzanne Mooney depicts the physical structures of marketing: plinths, platforms and backdrops from department store displays, yet without the clutter of actual items for sale, while Meschac Gaba embeds devalued banknotes from the Central Banks of the states of West Africa into the frames of his works. A related accentuation of the peripheral is seen in Raqs Media Collective's text-based artwork Please Do Not Touch the Work of Art, reconfiguring the wording of this simple yet familiar sentence to create a range of poetic, declarative and subversive statements.

In Karmelo Bermejo's "Fiscal Oil Paint" series, underlying economic forces are literally absorbed in the work, as the inscription "Undeclared Income" in the top layer of oil paint is only legible from certain angles and lighting conditions. Antonia Hirsch explores ideas of speculative fever from the historical context of the Dutch phenomenon of "tulipmania" in the 17th century. Kathi Hofer's series of photographs and sculptural objects re-purpose quotes from the economist John Maynard Keynes as slogans on coffee mugs, alongside assorted wrapped gifts, to suggest the discordance between economic theory and everyday working life. In a previous work, the artist Colin Darke transcribed found objects with writing from Karl Marx's three-volume Das Kapital. His Capital Paintings are 480 individual canvases of uniform size that depict these objects themselves, without their texts. Resembling a seemingly endless production line, they explore the uneasy but interdependent relationship between creativity and consumerism.

Everything Must Go features an extensive program of curated events, courses and workshops as well as an international symposium on The Value of Criticism, featuring a keynote presentation by Patricia Bickers (editor, Art Monthly, UK) on February 26, 2016.

Curated by Chris Clarke and Declan Jordan, in association with the School of Economics, University College Cork

An exhibition catalogue accompanies Everything Must Go.

Everything Must Go is supported by University College Cork, The Arts Council Ireland, Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen, The Austrian Federal Chancellery, and private philanthropy through Cork University Foundation.