Leanne Shakenovsky
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Artist Statement

My fascination comprises three elements – namely, the business of art and artwork being traded as a commodity; gold – both the colour and the metal and facades and pretences that we constantly construct.

Having valued artwork at a prestigious fine art auction house in Johannesburg for 2 years prior to setting out as a full time artist, our valuation process constantly baffled me. How relevant and accurate were the credentials on which we based our provided auction estimates? It often seemed that prices obtained were largely based on trend and that buyers saw their new acquisitions as easily tradable commodities that could make great investments.

The colour gold is associated with success, achievement and triumph. It represents masculine energy and the power of the sun. Gold draws attention to itself. Gold reflects the things that every society holds sacred. To the ancient Egyptians, it was the sun and after life. To the Christians, it was the light of God. To the Renaissance kings, it was power and status. For us, perhaps the most sacred thing is money. Gold is now seen for its price and its statistics on spread sheets. Our obsession with gold remains undimmed.

In every part of the globe, members from every society are constantly and tirelessly building facades creating images of the ideal families, partnerships and lives. Often the more imperfect the family is, the more perfect it seems. These masquerades and guises are relevant universally. My work critiques societal norms and what we have accustomed to.

Glitter resembles all that sparkles and is glistening. It is the epitome of attractiveness, or rather, what we have come to believe is attractive. Glitter is shimmering and distracting despite being created from tiny particles of scrap material. Glitter is cheap and kitsch, mass produced and non-durable. It is often associated with children’s arts and crafts. Glitter holds no value, despite how it seduces us.

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