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art > seventeen too many (2020)

image of artwork seventeen too many

seventeen too many

demonetised hyperinflation banknotes (ZWN $50,400,000,000,000), 24-carat gold leaf, and acrylic medium on paper

76cm x 56cm

count denomination value (ZWN) Pick click for image…
1,008 50 billion $50,400,000,000,000 P87 banknote
1,008  $50,400,000,000,000    

bulletRead: Wikipedia's article on Banknotes of Zimbabwe

I wanted to make something about the 10,000 things Lau Tzu and friends talk about using my favourite medium for playing with big ideas: the perversely eloquent and capricious hyperinflation banknotes.

The best fit for a Vitruvian square of 10,000 noughts I could find was 63 rows of 159 = 10,017 noughts: seventeen too many.

Those 10,017 noughts were clipped from 1,008 bank notes. My teacher [dw] found great delight in this number. Unbeknownst to me, it's quite the thing in certain belief systems.

"Diedre Chambers, what a coincidence!"

But the most astonishing aspect of this work was what emerged from the cutting and pasting of those auspicious fragments. The apparent un-achievability of the tiny tolerances required to perfectly align 1,008 clippings allowed a deeper image to be revealed, like I was doing some kind of glacial action painting, and somehow it seemed to, among other things, catch a little of what the experience of vāsanā beguiling and ensnaring our perceptions feels like.

Apparently, this is the sort of thing that just happens when you allow yourself to play with seventeen too many nothings.

Who knew?

And to think that's only a couple of the seventeen too many…

How to make "seventeen too many"

Start with 1,008 "worthless" bank notes…

bank notes

and a nice piece of paper…

blank page

cut the noughts off the banknotes…

cutting and sizing

and collage them…

making the work

carefully supervised by Emma, artistic advisor and muse…

emma assists creating the art

add a touch of gold…


and a serial number

sertial number

plus seventeen

add seventeen

sort some trash

sort the trash

et voila!


bulletBrowse: works with hyperinflation banknotes

This page was last updated on 22 March, 2020.

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