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Shameless Gold

cocoons (cricula trifenestrata helf)

2001

The work 'Shameless Gold' is about an image of the social elite. It is about the social maintenance and the desire for richness. Contemporary society is fascinated with power and wealth, like kings and those who are extremely rich. How do they live, what kind of attributes do they have... To justify wealth, it is mostly placed in a cultural context (historically / traditionally / religiously), to give it prestige and credibility.

This theme is connected with my situation living in Indonesia where the gap between rich and poor is enormous. It makes associations with the moneyed rich and their big fancy gold cars, ostentatious watches and adornment. As the rich are often politically influential, gold also implies corruption, greed and nepotism, the underbelly of the country's tangled political system. For the poor, or those from the lower classes, gold is seen as their only form of security. It is common practice among them to exchange their wages and earnings for gold, a liquid asset, in place of cash savings in the bank, which can be ‘unreliable', as experienced during the 1997 economic crash when the value of the Rupiah plummeted.

“Shameless Gold” (2002), comprising of 3 costumes made from naturally gold-coloured cocoons from caterpillars that live in avocado and cashew nut trees (cricula trifenestrata helf)