HAHAN: HACK THE MARKET

Hahan, Speculative Entertainment No.1 Yogyakarta Edition, site-specific performance installation, 2016. Photo: Dwiki Sirait and Fajar Riyanto.
Published in ACCLAIM | Issue #38, 2018

Excerpt:

Mariam: Is your latest project an attempt to democratise the art market, at the same time satirising it?

Hahan: Yes, I want to give people an opportunity to feel like they can be a part of the art machine. But I also want to break down the social status of art fairs. Not everybody can get VIP treatment –  — only big-time collectors get this. Art fairs are open to the public, and people can see exhibitions and take pictures of art, but not everyone can buy the art. Why? Because this object value is created by a system of curators, art critics, dealers, brokers and museums. By hacking up my painting into small pieces and selling them at affordable prices, I give people—from a high-school student to a ‘serious collector’—the same opportunity to own art.

You have exhibited Speculative Entertainment No. 1 in art fairs in Yogyakarta, Hong Kong, and recently, Sydney. You’ve obviously nailed the routine—can you walk me through it?

I make colourful cartoon images and words on a big canvas with acrylic and spray paint. My team installs the canvas on a wall and divides it into 2,002 square pieces (or lots. We turn the exhibition into an auction, and a Master of Ceremonies uses a megaphone to hype up everyone walking past. If we catch your attention, you queue up and get a paddle. We call your number, you choose a section of art that you like—maybe it’s the colour red, or a funny face, or dollar signs everywhere [laughs]. Our assistant slices the canvas with a knife and puts the lot on a silver platter. A cashier takes your money and gives you a Certificate of Authenticity. You’re free to come back and buy more lots, and if you decide to resell my art later on, you can speculate on a price. I take a small commission for helping you sell it. Put this all together, and the art fair becomes my medium.

The above text is an excerpt.
Read the full feature in ACCLAIM: Issue 38