Das Tauschregal is Cynthia Daignault’s latest exhibition among many recent shows, part of a series of offsite projects developed by Lisa Cooley and her artists. As “an experiment in participatory economics,” Das Tauschregal continues one aspect of Cynthia’s practice, whereby she exhibits and distributes accessibly priced original paintings, such as her CCTV paintings.
For Das Tauschregal – “The Barter Shelf” – Daignault invited any interested people to trade “objects of value” for paintings. Each participant could describe on an index card his or her object of value, then submit this card to Lisa Cooley Gallery. From those anonymous descriptions, Cynthia chose 31 participants. Each participant would trade his or her object for Cynthia’s painting of that object.
Through the month of May, all thirty-one objects have been displayed on shelves at 6 Decades Books, one object for each day, configured like the May 2014 calendar. As each day passes, Cynthia replaces one object with her painting of that object. On May 31st, the conversion will be complete; the shelves will hold only paintings. This “daily practice of painting” strategy is another current in Cynthia’s surge; for her recent I love you more than one more day, she ambitiously painted the overhead clouds each day. Cynthia is a high-frequency painter (making her a “Flash Girl“).
And with Das Tauschregal, Cynthia is a high-frequency trader, of sorts. Das Tauschregal is an experiment in “exchanging concrete commodity for abstract representation, as in currency”. It’s not the first barter-based show (or this), but it’s also no coincidence that this show overlapped with the Frieze Art Fair, where everything you see is a luxury good and monetary value is mostly arbitrary, determined by fiat. Also, this project looks asymmetrical. The objects in Das Tauschregal have sentimental, autobiographical, or otherwise subjective value. Valuable to their previous owners, it’s not immediately clear how or why Cynthia will value these objects. -As tokens and memorabilia of this project? -As symbols of new friendships and acquaintances? Why would Cynthia select any of them? Meanwhile, other participants will undoubtedly value their new paintings! I know I will.