The Bank of Hell

 2007 – end of late capitalism

‘From the Bank of Hell’ is an accruing collection of mimetic paper sculptures that are manufactured in Hong Kong to be burnt in a ritual ceremony to ease ancestral passage through the afterlife. Almost every thing that is manufactured for the living is manufactured for the dead in this “ghost” form. The collection attempts to sample as widely as possible and includes puffer jackets to Karaoke machines, cosmetics, dentistry, Viagra. The moniker of ‘Hell’ goods and ‘Hell’ money stems from a perjorative nineteenth century missionary mistranslation of the local concept of the afterlife. Votive banknotes, share certificates and other economic products such as credit cards and mortgage certificates are also issued as tender from’ the Bank of Hell’. The collection stems from the early part of the 21st century, with residual methods of artisanal handmade construction, whereas contemporary goods are increasingly digitally printed as cardboard nets on glitter board in mainland China and imported as flatpack to be assembled locally.

They are made to be incinerated, and for some, carry a profound sense of sadness. The collection is to be extant for the late capitalist period and burnt as an offering to those who lived through it at its close.

Exhibited ZKM gallery, Karlsruhe 2011, Turner Contemporary, Margate 2008, Arnolfini, Bristol 2007.

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