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Alessandro Balteo-Yazbeck, Last oil barrel, date postponed

Alessandro Balteo-Yazbeck

Last oil barrel, date postponed

Ink on sustainable wood, laser printed paper, financial markets and task performance

3.5 x 2.5 cm / 1.4 x 1 in, Open-unnumbered edition
For price reference click to see Oil Future index

Press Release

Petromelancholia explores the enormous consequences of a life beyond oil, the magnitude of which many do not yet realize. Unlike the many exhibitions that sing doomsday scenarios or open doors about the climate crisis, Petromelancholia reflects on the legacy of the oil age and the new meaning that this past will irrevocably acquire. What has oil brought us, both materially and especially culturally, and what could disappear or change?

Such a complex phenomenon can only be expressed properly if there is room for different perspectives. Art is the 'master discipline' when it comes to anticipating and navigating change. That is why Petromelancholia, curated by Alexander Klose (Beauty of Oil research group), brings together 24 contemporary artists from different cultural backgrounds and generations.

There is no better location for Petromelancholia than BRUTUS - located in the port of Rotterdam. In few places will the impact of the energy transition be more visible than here. This is therefore the most suitable place for critical self-reflection with a good dose of melancholy and nostalgia. The exhibition reflects an urgency that has never been felt so strongly before.

The activity of Balteo-Yazbeck is directly related to Venezuelan socio-political history in the global context of extractivism, specifically oil.

According to historian Sean Nesselrode Moncada: The ability of oil to serve as a connective tissue between business investment, government policy, military campaigns and artistic patronage forms the basis of much of the conceptual practice of this artist. In his readymade-performance piece, entitled "Last oil barrel" made of sustainable wood, paper, ink, printed paper, financial markets and sales protocol, Balteo-Yazbeck prices a 3.5 centimeter miniature (multiple) piece to the fluctuating future value of oil on the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX). With its date permanently postponed to an unknown future, "Last oil barrel" offers an education in the mechanics of petroculture. Art and commodity, fossil fuels and exchange value: everything becomes fungible. The physical object evaporates conceptually before our eyes, sifted by the abstractions of financial indexes and the world art market in a continuous performance. Like a stored treasure that can never be fully accessed, but is tantalizing in its promise. This small barrel exists as pure potentiality.

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