Tobias Rehberger Unveils New Design Object That’s Also a Clever Criticism of the Financial Market
His latest edition addresses the dissipation of value.
German artist Tobias Rehberger’s latest edition of multiples comes in the shape of a large leather prank-case that makes the paper stocks within disappear.
The artist teamed up with Manager Magazin, collaborating with the publication’s mmgallery to create a limited edition of 20 leather cases.
In an interview with the German magazine for the product’s launch, the artist confessed that he himself doesn’t participate in stock market trading, and that the leather good’s design was conceived as a playful take on a joke-shop classic.
“I knew from my childhood that there are wallets where coins or banknotes suddenly disappear when you open the flap,” Rehberger said. “I wanted a larger version of that, so the printed cover would look like a drawing or painting, that seems as if it could also hang on the wall.”
Since large trick wallets proved impossible to find, the artist hired a leather craftsman to custom make a small and exclusive number of editions especially for the project.
But, given that the edition is titled Everybody Knows But Nobody Cares (2015), the case could also be understood as a subtle criticism of the financial markets, where the value of investments can rapidly dissipate.
Rehberger went on to explain that the participation of others—including the audience—is a core interest of his artistic oeuvre.
“Involving other people as well as the viewer or buyer is actually frequently a part of my artistic concepts. Even now for this edition both the leather craftsman and […] the collector who holds it in his hands is part of it,” the artist explained.
Addressing his reputation for working with bold colors, the artist told Manager Magazin, “No painter will be able to explain exactly why something is red or blue or why green appears in a painting. It’s true that only a few works of mine are in minimalistic black or gray, but what interests me is unusual color schemes without logic and without symbolic meaning.”
In a previous interview the artist famously said “art is that which looks beautiful.” Seizing the opportunity to clarify the oft-quoted statement he explained, “I can only imagine that I said that with a certain irony. To make such a statement literally would be quite misleading. What motivates me in my work and troubles me is that this beauty isn’t only seen with the eyes.”
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