Friday, March 12, 2010

Bas Henrikx - Candybars

Life ain't scary, it's just pretty expensive. Sometimes I'm glad I don't have any wives nor kids that I have to shoot when there's nothing more to pawn. Bas Hendrikx from Amsterdam, one of two winners of this year's 19,99 € Award, doesn't have to worry about money anymore.

Jury member Martin Beck writes about Bas Hendrikx' installation "Candybars" from 2009:

"Candy Bars is my winner because of its intricate and complex entanglement of the aesthetics of minimalism and our regressive desire for cheap sensual pleasures. References to minimalism can be found in its rectangular box shape as well materials such as frosted glass, metal and neon lights, rendering it a highly aesthetic piece. Yet the minimalistic practice of manufacturing a work of art with the means of industrial production seem to be reversed by artistically recreating a functional object that is itself a standardised item of serial production. The resulting piece fits well into an art space, yet it confronts our wish for a refined acknowledgment of its formal and material qualities with our regressive sensual desires and the automatism by which consumer capitalism is ready to cater them.

An image that reminds – judging from the rather bad quality picture – of a pink bucket, a drink or a meaningless abstract emblem, offers a pleasure that is as cheap as it is sweet, unhealthy and redundant. At the same time promising and withholding the designated object of our infantile desire, Candy Bars represents a study on display, taste, aesthetic experience and objecthood at times when the art sphere is increasingly incorporated in the entertainment industry."

Jury member Lasse Lawrence adds:

"I like the piece because of its triviality in an art space. [...] I like Candybars because it reminds us that art turned into the product of some diluted consumption and exhibitions are the places where this diluted consumption takes place. It's not only "let's have a break, let's have a candy bar!" it's also let's have a break, let's examine why we visit exhibition spaces, what we come here for?"