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Nina Beier: Cash for Gold

Cash for Gold is the most comprehensive monograph on the work of Nina Beier, copublished with the Kunstverein in Hamburg, in conjunction with Kunsthaus Glarus. Nina Beier’s art presents a particular challenge to critics, Alexander Scrimgeour outlines in the introduction to this catalogue— indeed, an anthology of eight different essays: a textual bounty that proved necessary. The conventional functions of the art writer: interpretation, judgement, critique, contextualisation, etc., stand in an uneasy relationship, not to say opposition, to the explorations of openness, assignations of value, and unspoken cultural codes in her work. The development of this catalogue, and the fact that it does not coalesce into a single, authoritative voice, can perhaps best be seen as a reflection of the work itself, and what makes or lets it carry meaning for different people in different ways. For all the specificity of its materials and forms, it draws its energy from the emotional valence of culturally embedded desires, pressures, norms and glitches within what Rosalind Krauss called, after Fredric Jameson, “the total saturation of cultural space by the image.” The sprawl and partiality of this catalogue is itself a mirror of a crisis of representation that is itself the ground occupied by the images, confused objects, and art-historical references in Beier’s work to date.

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