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Vermeir & Heiremans

A Modest Proposal (in a Black Box)

Vidéo | hdv | couleur | 28:7 | Belgique, Royaume-Uni | 2018

In A Modest Proposal, Vermeir & Heiremans are discussing a new financial model with a lawyer. They question if financialisation can be re-purposed towards generating a more equitable arts ecology. Considering the financialisation of public art collections and museum buildings, the financial model should benefit not only investors, but also its stakeholders, the creators of the art`s value, the art workers. The artists propose to financialise Pump House Gallery in Battersea Park as their case-study. It is located close to Battersea Power Station, a former coal-fired power station that will soon house Apple's London headquarters and luxury apartments. The artists propose to "pump" up the gallery`s value, and generate a return for the wider art community. The conversation between artists and lawyer takes place in Vermeir & Heiremans` house, which they define as an art work. Meanwhile the absent-minded lawyer`s assistant often slips away from the discussions. She appears to be able to materialise and dematerialise at will the lofty space by caressing the walls, playing with a scale model of the house or using the latter as a framing device, manipulating the window views. When the artists and the lawyer go on to celebrate the proposal on the loft's rooftop garden she takes control…

The videos and installations of the artist duo Vermeir & Heiremans investigate the complex relationship between economy, spatiality, and social reality in today's highly globalized world. The artists define their own house as an art work, which they use as a framing device to focus on the growing financialisation of the arts, real estate and daily life in general. The duo raises questions about the role the arts play within the ever-growing entanglement between urban development, financialisation and governing. The artists employ financial tools, historical references, technology, and cinematic language to reflect on social codes as well as on the production of value in today's artistic and non-artistic realms. Vermeir & Heiremans have presented their work at 10th Istanbul Biennial (2007), Arnolfini, Bristol (2009), Nam June Paik Art Center, Yongin (2010), Viennale, Vienna (2011), 7th Shenzhen Sculpture Biennial (2012), Manifesta 9, Limburg (2012), Argos, Brussels (2012), Extra City, Antwerp (2012), 13th Istanbul Biennale (2013), Rotwand Gallery, Zurich (2014), Triennale Brugge (2015), Dojima River Biennale, Osaka (2015), Curated by_Vienna at Georg Kargl Gallery (2015), Transmediale, Berlin (2016), Bucharest Biennale 7 (2016), Rencontres Internationales Paris/Berlin (2010, 2012, 2017), Glassyard Gallery, Budapest (2018), Art Brussels (2018), The Atlantic Project, Plymouth (2018), Pump House Gallery, London (2018)