curatorial intensive

The Value of Nothing

By Jesse van Oosten

For Summer 2013

The Value of Nothing

A proposal by Jesse van Oosten

The Value of Nothing, a proposal developed by Jesse van Oosten, opens at TENT Rotterdam on September 4, 2014.

On view September 4 – November 16, 2014

Artists include: Meschac Gaba, Jeanne van Heeswijk, Iratxe Jaio + Klaas van Gorkum, Priscila Fernandes, Helmut Smits, Gil & Moti, Oblique International, Kym Ward, Roel Roscam Abbing, Weronika Zielinska, Antonia Hirsch, Jonas Staal, Remco Torenbosch, Claire Fontaine, Paolo Cirio, Bill Balaskas, Jonas Lund, ZUS

Curated by: Jesse van Oosten (TENT) and Michel van Dartel (independent curator, V2_)

The Value of Nothing springs from long-term research initiated by TENT into shifts in thinking about value and economy, and the role that art can play therein. In the aftermath of the global economic crisis increasingly urgent questions arise that are related to neoliberal values seeping into almost every aspect of our lives. In addition to the known financial and economic criteria, can we articulate different ideas about the concept of value? What are other possible forms of economic exchange? And what do these alternatives mean for how value manifests itself?

The Value of Nothing presents artists who contribute to the current debate on the commercialization of society, expose the underlying mechanisms, or propose alternative strategies. They reveal value beyond the mainstream market, like Jeanne van Heeswijk’s project in Rotterdam’s Afrikaanderwijk district, or show that trade in a global economy also means non-monetary cultural exchange, as in Meschac Gaba’s artistic currency exchange bureau. Others, such as Remco Torenbosch, immerse themselves in the beauty and philosophical idea behind the distribution of goods, or like Paolo Cirio, deliver concrete possibilities for dodging tax.

The Value of Nothing brings together artistic practices and projects that reflect our current economies and value systems, or that focus on possible alternatives. Meschac Gaba, Jeanne van Heeswijk, Jonas Lund, Helmut Smits and Remco Torenbosch present newly commissioned works. Gil & Moti, Weronika Zielinska, Roel Roscam Abbing, Kym Ward and Oblique International will each participate in a Fieldwork Residency at a Rotterdam-based company or organization. They will each develop a proposal that deals with the values held or produced by the organisation, such as its hospitality to outsiders, equality on the workfloor, or success criteria. The proposals will be presented in TENT during Fieldwork Friday, on 3 and 24 October. In addition, on 16 October and 13 November, curator and writer Nat Muller organises Breaking the Bank: a two-part event in which academics, journalists, and other practitioners explore how art, value and the global economy are interrelated. In a research project, Erasmus University College students will discuss and explore the exhibition’s topics.

For more information, please visit TENT Rotterdam.

1.  Priscila Fernandes, For a Better World, 2012.
2.  Remco Torenbosch, Distribution (Study Material), 2014.
3.  Bill Balaskas, Monopoly (Courtesy Kalfayan Galleries), 2013.
4.  Meschac Gaba, Exchange Market (Installation view, Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, NY), 2014.

About the Curator

Jesse van Oosten

Jesse van Oosten is currently the Assistant Curator at TENT, a platform for contemporary art in Rotterdam, where she is responsible for public programs. She developed the lecture series, “Current Values,” and is developing and producing the upcoming exhibition The Value of Nothing, which will open Spring 2014. Van Oosten has curated several exhibitions at MAMA: Showroom for Media and Moving Art, Rotterdam, such as The Silent Clowns with artists such as Roman Signer and John Bock (2012); and You all fell for my act (2011), which included Jaimie Warren, Ai Weiwei, Kalup Linzy, and Evan Baden. Since September 2012, she has been curating several art projects at Upominki, a project space for young artists and curators in Rotterdam. Together with artistic researcher Dieuwke Boersma, van Oosten is also part of the interview-performance duo, SandWitz. She received her BA in Liberal Arts in Utrecht, and participated in MAMA’s curatorial trainee program, Rookies MA. She has her MA in Theory of Modern and Contemporary Art and World Art Studies from Leiden University.

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