History Zero

22 June - 2 September 2017


By Stefanos Tsivopoulos
Curated by Abhijan Gupta


‘History Zero’ is an installation by Stefanos Tsivopoulos. It was first shown at the Greek Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2013, and it is now exhibited for the first time in India. The installation comprises a three-part video and an archive of objects dealing with ideas of money, currency and the generation of value. In its current iteration in Mumbai, in the post-demonetization context, the artist’s work investigates the sociality of money – after all, banknotes are minted on a promise – a promise which on the midnight of November 8th, 2016 was unceremoniously broken, like so many promises of better days. It connects that particular midnight moment with that of the ongoing Greek economic crisis, which many saw as the shattering of the promise of a unified European Union.



The artist has created an archive of alternative currency systems from around the world, across historical periods. This archive examines social formations from within which particular modes of exchange based on non-monetary systems of value, as well as alternative uses of currency, emerge. This includes currency- systems involving the transfer of talk-time minutes instead of cash in parts of Africa, as well as the use fake currency created as part of an anti-corruption campaign by an NGO in Chennai, where each seemingly-real notes actually contained anti-bribery messages. The objects on display from the archive have been produced in Batikuling wood by craftsmen at the Bellas Artes Projects, the Philippines. 


The three-channel video follows an African immigrant in Athens, who searches for and sells scrap metal for cash; an artist who roams the city, taking photographs on his iPad; and an art-collecter, suffering from dementia, who obsessively creates origami flowers out of euro bank-notes. By juxtaposing the video and the archival objects, Tsivopoulos injects the speculative (with its connotations in finance) into the archival, creating grounds to imagine new ways of thinking value.


Speculating further on the possible uses of currency, and attempting to create new modes of entanglement-as-exchange is the game-based artwork entitled the ‘Interspecies-Token Game: An Econautic Proposition’  developed by members of the Economic Space Agency collective (ECSA). As part of the exhibition, the ‘Interspecies-Token Game: An Econautic Proposition’ workshop will be orchestrated by Erik Bordeleau and Laura Lotti, both members of the ECSA, from 10am to 5pm at the Alliance Française on the 5th of August, 2017. For more information, go to the The Interspecies-Token Game: An Econautic Proposition's page. 



Stefanos Tsivopoulos

Born in 1973 in Prague, Stefanos Tsivopoulos lives and works between Amsterdam, Athens and New York. A selection of recent solo exhibitions include the Staatsgalerie Stuttgard (2015); MuCEM, Museum of Civilizations of Europe and the Mediterranean, Marseille; (2014), Cycladic Museum Athens (2014); Art Basel Miami South Beach (2013); Stella Art Foundation, Moscow (2013); ISCP, New York (2011). Group exhibitions include documenta 14, Friedericianum, Kassel (2017); MACBA, Barcelona (2015); Tate Modern, London (2014); 2nd Beijing Biennial, Beijing (2014); Haus Der Culturen Der Welt, Berlin (2013); SALT, Istanbul (2012); Centre Pompidou, Paris (2011); Manifesta 8, Murcia (2010); Witte de With, Rotterdam (2010); BFI Southbank, London (2009); 1st Athens Biennale (2007).
In 2013, he represented Greece in the 55th Venice Biennial with his video installation History Zero.   
He is represented by Prometeogallery di Ida Pisani, Milan.


Abhijan Gupta

Abhijan Gupta is a curator, working with the Dhaka Art Summit ’18. Recent projects include ‘You Cannot Cross The Sea Merely By Staring At The Waves’, at the Krinzinger Projekte and ‘8688’, at Project88, as assistant curator to Diana Campbell Betancourt, and ‘The Manufacturing of Rights’ (Ashkal Alwan, Beirut; Contour Biennale 8, Belgium), and the production of the ‘Against Nature Journal’, with Council, as project assistant. He has previously worked with the Paris-based curatorial collective, Council; the Asia Art Archive’s India Projects, and with the Majlis Cultural Centre, and has been curator in residence at the Hochschule Luzern – University of Applied Arts and Sciences.


Economic Space Agency collective (ECSA)

Economic Space Agency is a start-up based in Oakland, California. ECSA builds the tools to open source finance and terraform new economic spaces, and to provide a framework for those tools that grows toward a heterogeneous, collective economy accessible to everyone.

Exhibition supported by Economic Space Agency, Alliance Française de Bombay, the Italian Embassy Cultural Centre - Mumbai Section, Bellas Artes Projects, Clark House Initiative and RRO.