Investment Piece, 2018
Paper, ink, cut out legal tenders of various countries, description of an online funding project
Investment Piece (2018), a reprise of Lee Lozano’s (1930-1999) eponymous work from 1969. As the art historians, Jo Applin and Sophie Cras have shown, the art-life pieces that Lozano conducted between 1969 and 1971 were closely linked to the artist’s own living conditions and served the purpose of using money as a disruptive element within the art world.
By contrast, Kawakubo’s piece addresses the contemporary global economy: The profit derived from its sale would turn the artist into a subversive shareholder of HSBC, one of the corporations with the highest corporate net profits in Britain in 2016. The typewritten certificate is adorned with small cut-outs of banknotes from various currencies — another interrogation of value.
One of the details is a section from a French 20 Franc note, which carries a watermark portrait of the artist Paul Cézanne (1839-1906). Yet this watermark, as it cannot be held against the light, is barely visible. Thus, in a subtle way, the work reunites two main strands of Kawakubo’s practice that are encapsulated in the term ‘speculation’ — on the one hand, questions of seeing and knowing and on the other issues of value.