Midas Hills - Sanded Panel of Gallery wall YKR
Sanded wall panel
Since 2014, Kawakubo has been working on a series of wall works that play with the conventions of easel painting and simultaneously analyse the creation of value. The artist partially sands down walls of a space, to the effect that the underlying layers of paint that had been applied to the walls earlier, reappear testifying to the former uses of the space and thus to the time that has passed. In a highly laborious process, the walls are meticulously polished and their surfaces become shiny and smooth. The artist explicitly invites the visitor to touch these pieces to feel their smoothness.
Kawakubo has turned these walls into systems of coordinates, with the boundaries between the highly polished sanded and the unsanded sections of the walls marking the lines of economic forecasts, once again a reflection of his background in the finance sector as a trader.
This wall piece which is named after the mythical Phrygian king whose touch turned everything into gold, projects the net return of UK corporations twenty years into the future. Kawakubo cut out a square section of Midas Hills from one of the gallery walls.
While both the wall work and the removed section resemble a mountain landscape and thus have a strong pictorial dimension, this interaction with the wall is also a conscious nod to the Conceptual art movement of the 1960s, or more precisely to an iconic work by the Conceptual artist Lawrence Weiner (b. 1942), A 36'' x 36'' REMOVAL TO THE LATHING OR SUPPORT WALL OF PLASTER OR WALLBOARD FROM A WALL (1968).
Although it is formally distinct Kawakubo’s cut-out, roughly mirrors the dimensions of Weiner’s removal piece. However opposed to Weiner's work, Kawakubo’s removal becomes a saleable work — and it is particularly this transformation into a marketable object that interests the artist.