What would you do if you had stacks of US dollar bills? Maybe you would spend them on a vacation or luxury goods but I bet you would never think of destroying them.
“The urge to destroy is also a creative urge,” posted by Banksy on his social platform after he shredded his famous work ‘Girl with Balloon” and renamed it “Love is in the Bin”. Sharing a similar urge as Banksy, Los Angeles-based contemporary artist Scott Campbell creates evocative paper-cut sculptures by destroying stacks of US dollar bills. The artist brings his latest series to Hong Kong in his first solo presentation in Asia with Over The Influence gallery.
After abandoning a career as a biochemist at the University of Texas, Campbell fled to San Francisco, and began tattooing. In recent years, he has gained much acclaim from fine communities worldwide for his work in mediums other than skin, including intricately carved sculptures made of US currency, some of which are now on view in Hong Kong.
Skull is a recurring motif that the artist often touches upon in both his tattooing art and money cuts. By contrasting money, a symbol of wealth, with skulls which symbolise ephemerality and death, his sculptures proffer thoughtful questions regarding the state of the art world and the seemingly ever-proliferating role of capitalism. In Campbell’s work, memento mori objects such as skulls serve as explicit reminders of the vanity of earthly pleasures and goods.
Having a complicated relationship with money, Campbell enjoys “creating something beautiful out of something so revered because the beautiful part is more important than the money part”. In the process of destroying money, Campbell takes away the authority of money and treats it like papers, paints or any ordinary medium for creating art.
“Using All The Freedoms We Have” – An exhibition of new works by Scott Campbell
Venue: Over The Influence
Address: 1/F, 159 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong
Exhibition dates: 14 December – 12 January 2019
Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday 11 am – 7pm