On Rudolph Bonvies Börsenarbeiten
At art openings towards the end of the nineties, while share prices were skyrocketing, it was not uncommon to overhear artists of all ages discussing market activity in reference to their investments. A quick check on the current status of developments on the trading floor was customary procedure before leaving for the studio in the morning.
Faith in this method of daily earnings and retirement scheme planning crumbled after the New Market crash - and ultimately disappeared after September 11th. Nevertheless, this period of soaring market prices, propelled by companies whose names and business activities we will never know, the rise and fall of Telekom shares, among other events, turned us all into imaginary small time investors.
A few years earlier it would have been impossible to imagine that at prime time, just before the evening news in Germany, information about current stock market developments would be reported on television. Today we cant begin to imagine what it would be like not to be informed by the analysts about a companys bright or dark future before its half year press conferences. Trading in stocks, bonds and futures became an everyday activity at the turn of the millennium, motivated on the one hand by rational considerations and
while on the other as it has alwaysbeen by psychological factors,
such as faith and hope.
A year after the New Market crash Rudolph Bonvie spent some time during the spring in Carqueiranne in southern France. While there he began to read the local newspaper "Nice Matin every day. He also began following the developments on the world financial markets in its economic pages, where the closings on the New York, Tokyo, London or Frankfurt exchanges are evaluated in reference to those of the previous day by means of simple diagrammatic arrows - positive, negative or neutral.
The financial pages of the "Nice Matin offer another service as well: a member of the editorial staff distills the analysis of the economically relevant developments of the entire day into a single catchphrase. Bonvie must have felt himself in good company upon perceiving the editorial members capacity for literary reduction that practically parallels the terminological density of phraseology in his own work. Since the early eighties text fragments and verbal ambivalences have often found their way into Bonvies work. Sometimes terms appear directly in his photographs while at others they are connoted by means of the pieces title, for example "Mercedogramm from 1986. The removal or covering up of pictorial elements by means of collage or retouching does nothing to hinder
of content. In the piece "KSTA I-III from 1986, the artist followed
a similar course of action to that of the work under current discussion.
In the course of one month he collected and reproduced all the reports from
the "Kölner Stadtanzeiger that had to do with the Chernobyl
"Nice Matin, 2001, now generated into a photographic work, gains through Bonvies carefully calculated interventions. He eliminates every indexical indication, for example what arrows stand for what stock exchange, or just how extreme the gains or losses of particular investments are. This condensation leaves us with expressions drained of their original meaning. They sound like a musical rhyme when the French text is read aloud. Together with the devalued arrows the terms "chaotic, "decaying, "stimulus, "optimism or "calm acquire their own immanent significance through the subtext. When viewing Bonvies work over the years, his inspiration can be measured in relation to political or moral factors. Indeed, "Rhapsodie nucléaire, 1987-89 held an undoubtedly aesthetic discourse on the economic exploitation of atomic energy for civil use. In "Bill Gates, 1999 Bonvie raised issue with monopolizing the global reproduction rights of images. He locates and signifies phenomena and events that are constantly evolving and which tend