11th Gwangju Biennale
2. 9. – 6. 11. 2016




A sign of a man without a head is glowing in the middle of a large blue partition wall, a symbol resembling occult iconography as well as enterprise brand identity. On the other side, a set is prepared for a modest presentation: rows of seats, a narrow stage platform on which are placed two empty chairs, and a small table between them, fill the space with an atmosphere of what Bill Moggridge calls “global functional minimalism,” dovetailing with universal corporate aesthetics. No one attends the stage, but a PowerPoint slideshow is being projected while two voices, those of the human geographer Angus Cameron and the curator Kim Einarsson, discuss the practice of Goldin+Senneby.

Started in 2007, the durational project Headless is carried out in various modes, including texts, live events, objects, images, and videos, although the artist duo insist on introducing it mainly as “an ongoing performance.” The project recently culminated with the publishing of the novel Headless by the fictional author K.D., a former employee at the offshore consultancy Sovereign Trust, who withdrew her real identity and resorted to initials following a legal dispute between Goldin+Senneby and Sovereign’s lawyers. The plot begins with the author John Barlow agreeing to ghostwrite a novel about secretive tax havens. He has been commissioned by the artist duo Goldin+Senneby to travel to Nassau, Bahamas, to investigate Headless Ltd., a company of fugitive nature with possible links to a secret society called Acéphale (headless in Greek) set up by French philosopher Georges Bataille in 1938. This murder-mystery novel accounts for murky encounters with a world of covert financial affairs and mystical associations.

Central to Goldin+Senneby’s collaborative practice are abstraction, displacement, and withdrawal as the corporate strategies that their inquiry is based on. They rarely take part in the execution of their initiatives. Instead, they outsource different parts of their project to external consultants, distributors, and specialists. By exploring, and not exposing, the subtleties of financial capitalism’s offshore operations, they propose their artistic practice as an exercise in the hierarchical creation of expertise and the structural concealment of post-Fordist working conditions that underlie these operations. AM


Goldin+Senneby define themselves as a “collaborative framework exploring juridical, financial, and spatial constructs.” The elusiveness of this description is somewhat apt. Since 2004, when Simon Goldin and Jakob Senneby started working as a duo, they have speculated around the layerings of contemporary economics, analyzing and employing different dimensions of financial markets. Their collaborative strategies have shaped a withdrawn approach wherein the artists are akin to puppeteers: their production mostly comprises choreographing the labour of others.” –João Laia, frieze

Important experiences for Goldin+Senneby include: Flack Attack, editorial meetings in Second Life, Artport, Whitney Museum of American Art, online (2005); Gone Offshore, sending ghostwriter John Barlow to the Bahamas (2008); Shifting Ground, exploring the agricultural aesthetics of EU bureaucracy (2009); The Decapitation of Money, a walk in the Marly forest with economic geographer Angus Cameron, Kadist Art Foundation, Paris (2010); The Discreet Charm, a model box presentation with cultural economist Ismail Erturk, “The End of Money,” Witte de With, Rotterdam (2011); M&A, algorithmic theater with investment banker Paul Leong and playwright Jo Randerson, ArtspaceNZ, Auckland (2013); Headless, a novel by K. D., published by Triple Canopy, Tensta konsthall & Sternberg Press (2015); Standard Length of a Miracle, first mutation of a retrospective, Tensta konsthall, Stockholm (2016).