Carlos Motta, Artist

Group Exhibiton | e-flux’s Pawnshop at Thessaloniki Biennial

September 7, 2011

18 September–18 November, 2011

Originally established by artists Julieta Aranda and Anton Vidokle in New York in 2008, PAWNSHOP went bankrupt at the beginning of the world financial crises, only to re-open successfully in Beijing and, most recently, at Art Basel.

Structurally, a pawnshop is a short-term loan business, which retains a collateral object (a camera, a ring, a guitar, a gun, and in this case an artwork) in exchange for a cash loan—a small fraction of the object’s value that needs to be repaid with interest within a one-month period. If the owner of the pawned object does not return to collect it and repay the loan + interest within 30 days, the pawnbroker has the right to sell it.  What is of particular interest in pawnshops is the peculiar mixture of the illicit and the desperate, futurity and anticipation. The idea that the object is collateral for cash that might be traded back for the object during a set duration, could be put in other words, that works of art and money are just dancing in a choreography in which they might just circle back and meet again, and cancel each other out, but in fact rarely do. All profits from PAWNSHOP have been donated to Doctors Without Borders.

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