Kanjo Také “Mikado”
Twelve Views of a Crisis
25-Channel Projection 2012/13
Také’s powerful images bring the world and its problems into sharp focus. He doesn’t only photograph and film where he goes, where he stands, and whatever catches his attention. His archive has been storing pictures ever since the first digital camera, which Také was able to acquire one year before its market launch.
By digitally processing his material and using a computer’s stylus or a virtual brush to add painterly motion, he stages a story that runs narratively and rambles poetically. His tale is a topical and critical commentary on the global financial crisis in twelve acts. Také illustrates neither fiscal nor economic theories here. His series of images is not intended for analysts who are obsessed with details. Instead, he aptly visualizes a climate with a destructive malaise that goes far beyond the annus horribilis of 2008 and continues to cause much damage today.
The motifs are supplied by banknotes from around the world. Politicians’ heads, eagles and falcons, herds of rhinoceroses, characteristic landscapes and prestigious buildings – mostly rendered as copperplate engravings – acquire new and independent lives of their own. A dramatic game of jackstraws is played in this environment. A set of wooden sticks is allowed to tumble onto a tabletop. The winning player is the one who extracts the greatest number and the most highly valuable sticks without causing the other jackstraws to tremble.
This game, which epitomizes risk and instability, becomes a metaphor for the money market’s ongoing crisis. Wielding their sticks like lances, two opponents draw attention to harsh controversies. They battle with their own shadows, thus alluding to a financial industry that begins with a real-estate crisis (the urban panorama!) and then orbits in its own derivatives: amidst money, with money, against money. Jackstraws and joust stand for profit maximization and total loss, patiently dexterous juggling and sudden collapse, cool calculation and feverish speculation, and above all for the pursuit of a greed that ignores the big picture, grows addicted to risk, and learns from nothing. That’s why Také’s prognosis looks gloomy.
What begins when money is unrestrainedly printed and the globe is littered with coins comes to its end when mountains of banknotes are immolated in a colossal annihilation of currency. But money miraculously multiplies anew at the push of a button and the cycle resumes. Inflation, at least, is always reliable.
Cologne, July 2013 / Manfred Schneckenburger