A series of pragmatic questions initiated the work Vera Stanković created for the 60th Faenza Prize exhibition. How taking part in this exhibition affects exhibiting artists’ working, living and being conditions? How valuable it is for artists to take part in this and other exhibitions organized by recognized institutions? What are the values they get from exhibiting and can those be measured? Are artists aware of those values and amounts? How did they learn about them? How are those values (and their amounts) correlated with funding of the exhibition? Is there research being done on this topic?
With her interactive installation Self-service Pantheon, the artist tackles the issue of what she refers to as artists’ and the art system’s value hypocrisy.
Self-service Pantheon welcomes the visitor into an open octagonal space formed by seven plates hanging from the ceiling and holding six types of goddess figurines. The artist made the fetish goddesses with ritual value in mind (claiming they are able to protect different areas of contemporary life).
Communicating directly with visitors through text, the artist encourages them to engage with the installation and exchange values with the artist: choose a goddess, leave a voluntary contribution in the container for valuables and walk off with the goddesses in hand. During the exhibition period, the container for valuables (made out of the seventh plate) will gather all visitors’ voluntary contributions (which, according to the artist, may or may not be financial). The work itself will thus claim and contain the specific value of exhibiting at the 60th Faenza prize. After the closing, the artist will open the container and publish its content on her website, together with other learning from this process.
A special thank you to all the people from the International Museum of Ceramics who helped me set up the work, Dani Žbontar who helped me produce it, and to all the people who interacted with the installation.