obsolete stock certificate with Mao poem
old share with poem

New work – with an explanation

antique stock certificate with mao poem

Mao Poem on historical security

Maybe it doesn’t make much sense for painters to explain their own works, and yet I think it can be quite helpful, so I try it.

My work, even if it often looks very simply, is generally full of ideas that deliberately do not catch the eye at first glance and I would like to take this new work as an example.

antique stock certificate with mao poem
Austro-Orientalische Handels AG as non-valeur

What is it? First of all, we see an old security, a share of Austro-Orientalische Handels AG with Chinese writing. A stock certificate is the ultimate symbol of capitalism. This kind of stock is a so-called non-valeur, it lost its value after the company went bankrupt. Well – a small facet on the edge – in our society even something completely worthless has value if it is marketed accordingly. Copies of this share are traded at c. 100-150 US $.

One of the reasons why it was chosen for my work is because it strongly  symbolizes the disappearance of cultures and traditions. The Austro-Oriental trading company was an important company before it disappeared early last century.

On the share, which is designed in the finest Art Nouveau (the Art Nouveau – fin de sciecle per se is a symbol of decay) we find 2 vignettes, which in turn have strong symbolic power: Vienna’s St. Stephen’s Cathedral and Hagia Sofia in Istanbul, are both not only symbols of the most important empires of their time, they also stand for their religions, Christianity and Islam.

Both cultures, as we know, have a long history, but Chinese culture flourished much earlier. While the great empires, from the Greeks and Romans to the Spaniards and English, collapsed, the Chinese not only held up, but is only now beginning to really become a dominant empire, which many are watching with great concern.

This dominance was expressed in the work by the fact that a calligraphy of Mao Zedong’s was painted on this copy of capitalism and imperialism – Mao who never got tired of denouncing capitalism and imperialism in the western world.

So much for the explanation of this non-valeur, which had collector’s value, before I destroyed it by the painting those characters, but, hopefully, with a clear added value as it will become a work of art 😊

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Zettl

alive and well and having fun

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