Started: 2016

Time/labour: ︎︎

Collaborators: Noica Omero (costume), Rhiannon Newton (choreographer/performer), Beth Dillon (choreographer/performer), Lisa Corsi (valuer), Anna Waldmann (valuer)

value // labour // valuation // report // performance // video // instruction // wallpaper // currency


Image: Make or Break, Valuation 2, 2018, performed by Beth Dillon at Sydney Contemporary Art Fair, photo by Rebecca Gallo.
VALUATION is an iterative series of online and physical works. It is a process through which Make or Break attempts to understand the way that art market value — of both artworks and art work — is determined and upheld, especially for works that have little or no physical trace. This series critiques the subjectivity of value generation and the fragility of currencies, and exposes the complex combination of labour, care and power that exists in relationships between artists and curators.

In September 2016, Make or Break first commissioned an accredited valuer under the Australian Cultural Gifts Program to place a dollar value on Make or Break Studio, the collective’s first work, to be accompanied by a written report. The valuation and its accompanying report have been published as an artwork on Runway, an experimental online art platform, with the artist fee for publication being cancelled out by the cost of the valuation report.

In 2018, Make or Break commissioned a second valuation of this same work, the text from which has been printed onto Tyvek® and sewn into a simple poncho, with performers ‘dancing the document’ in and through mainstream contemporary art fairs, attempting to embody and draw attention to the report’s contents.

Make or Break has also devised a site-specific wallpaper that collages copies of Australian currency in specific denominations to equal the valuation amount. The exhibition curator (or a waged curator at the exhibiting institution) is instructed to produce and install this wallpaper, without assistance from installers, as a condition of the wallpaper artwork being shown.

Valuation has also been transformed into a video work that incorporates surveillance footage of Make or Break Studio alongside a machine-read audio track that recites the contents of the latest valuation report.

This project was first commissioned by Runway Journal. The second valuation was commissioned by the National Art School for Sydney Contemporary Art Fair. The wallpaper was first exhibited in Kent Wilson’s office, aka ‘Back of House Gallery’ at Town Hall Gallery in Victoria. This was later re-created in the public gallery at Town Hall Gallery for For Love or Money curated by Sophia Cai, and shown alongside the surveillance video.

Runway Journal Issue 32: ‘Valuation’ by Make or Break
Video: ‘Valuation’ by Make or Break

Media and publications:
For Love or Money exhibition catalogue
ArtsHub: Review ‘For Love or Money’