The Bulls, the Bears and the Farm | 2010

Pigment print on Hahnemühle Photo Rag Pearl, museum matboard, gold varnish, other materials. Triptych, photographic relief sculpture (collage), hand cut and assembled, 70x340x15cm.

 

This devotional triptych is intended for private use in the home. Its central panel is modelled after the stock market performance of some major world indices on the eve of the global financial crisis of 2008-09. It highlights the period from September 15, 2008 (the day the US investment bank Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy) through December 11, 2008 (when financier and Ponzi mastermind Bernard Madoff was arrested in New York City).

The geometry of the sumptuously gilded frame depicts the gold price trend over the same trimester. In allusion to winged altarpieces in which the panels are hinged together so the wings can be closed over the center, both Opening and Closing are inverted reliefs of Intraday.

Two classical style paintings, L’ Innocence by William Bouguereau and The Last Supper by Juan de Juanes as well as a free Jesus Christ wallpaper retrieved from the Internet are shifted to Wall Street, the high temple of capitalism and worship of mammon. Alongside the symbolic beasts of finance, the bull and the bear, several farm animals make their appearance. While hogs are synonymous to greedy, high-risk investors, sheep just go with the flow.