Black Gold

Black Gold
Jonathan Sullam
fr – it

Black Gold is usually associated with the petroleum trade. It is also generally related with coal, coffee, black pepper, slavery, opium poppy, compost, blackberries, human hair, Guinness, Marmite and bling (or “bling bling”, a slang word in hip hop culture, referring to flashy, ostentatious jewelry or ornate accessories). Although these commodities link up with trading businesses, theycombine the popular sub culture and the derelicts of the colonial age.

The underlying resonance is the relationship between symbol and trade, where popular culture catalyzes tendencies to establish symbolic empowered trends, while trade makes a business of it, and sometimes vice versa.

In this context, Jonathan Sullam’s works interact by wavering between a dreamlike state and the poetical, or romanticized, rendition of the material’s use. Firmly grounded on the conviction that the visionary is the only possible variety of realism, powerful metaphors thus materialize: love is declared to be a need as well as wrapped in its own chains, landscapes are invisible, deadly, no more than a cloud of dust and smoke…A projection perhaps of the opaque sight turned by contemporary man over nature?

Be that as it may, by getting in touch with social conventions and the industrial production and mass consumption, whatever symbol or good seems to fall in a spin, to become entropic and inconsistent… But as salvation is predicated upon the risk of damnation, art cannot avoid signaling (or even magnifying) the danger, if it has to show a way out. The latter, in turn, requires that Black Gold, or reality, the actual world, with its mechanical and anomic social rituals, be transformed, or transfigured, into the world of the (im)possible; and since this passage implies a dip in the dark, and a (temporary?) experience of instability, Sullam takes the lead in order to show that imagination is stronger and more valuable than the fake money most commonly used for our material and spiritual transactions.

17 January – 1 March 2013