In the name of the father the son and the holy spirit
Michal Cole began cutting money in 2008 just as the global economy and art market was plunged into crisis. What might on first view be perceived as an ultimate act of decadence is in fact rooted in Cole’s ongoing passion to exploit society’s symbols and investigate how they may be re-shaped or modified to mean something entirely different, poetic and aesthetically implicit..
As the antithesis to Warhol who repeated the image of the dollar bill until its original
meaning is all but extinguished, Cole meticulously manipulates her desiccated currency into images of humanity, poetry and spirituality that have resonance outside of the base monetary system.
This has seen her precision-cutting £5-50 notes into jewel-like renditions of the artist and her partner in a series of intimate sexual positions, delicate self-portraits and art historical symbols such as skulls, flowers and animals. The resulting artworks present a troubling tension between destruction and creation and the sense that the all-encompassing power and influence of money overshadows and connects all things.
This is unequivocal in the series of works, ‘In the name of the Father the son and the holy spirit’, an ambitious project that has seen Cole cutting her bank notes into her recurrent, distinctly Christian symbols including roses, butterflies, skulls, crosses and Putti and mounting them in hand-made frames that mimic the design of Gothic ‘rose’ stained-glass windows.
Here, the detailed compositions of collaged elements are divided by a complex
tracery radiating from a central roundel. Whilst they appear at distance as a glorious burst of colour and decorative verve, up close the jarring dichotomy of image and material disturb and disrupt the viewer’s perception.
Nowhere is this more clearly seen than in the figurative elements presented in the central occuli. In one, a representation of Jesus and in another the late Diana, Princess of Wales (the ultimate ‘English Rose’), the figures of the Great and the Good from the bank note designs seem to grimace through their serene poses suggesting altogether more sinister narratives and associations.
October 31, 2010
December 13, 2011
art, butterflies, collage, money, painting, religion, mix media