Bill Burns
* 1956, lebt in Toronto

Am 9. Juni 2019 waren Karin Sanders Gebrauchsbilder, die seit 2014 im Atelier Amden ausgestellt waren, zum letzten Mal zu sehen. Am Abend wurden die Bilder unverpackt auf dem Dach eines Jeeps von der Künstlerin wegtransportiert. Bill Burns, der im Jahr zuvor mit seiner Performance The Salt, the Donkey, the Apple (2018) zu Gast war, zeigte an jenem Tag eine Gruppe von Zeichnungen aus dem Zyklus The Great Trading Project und stellte aus diesem Anlass die für das Atelier Amden entstandene gleichnamige Edition vor.

The Great Trading Project

The Great Trading Project is about things that change hands – exchanges and trades. The project was inspired by gifts of caribou meat and whale blubber I received while working in the Arctic. The first exchange transactions in the Great Trading Project took place at Amden, Switzerland, in 2018. I carried salt up a mountain trail, with the assistance of two donkeys. On the way up I picked some apples and traded a few of them for honey at the beekeeper’s house. At the top of the mountain we dipped the apples in honey and ate them with a pinch of salt.

The Amden transactions were the prototype for a more expansive project. Possible scenarios for future transactions might go like this: We acquire a barrel of codfish in Newfoundland. The fish is salted. The barrel is conveyed by sea or air transport to Greece where it is swappped for a trip of goats that in turn is exchanged for a load of raw honey. By and by, we depart Greece with two airtight container loads of honey bound for Egypt. After receiving our moorage assignment at Alexandria, we haggle for several days, eventually reaching a deal for the exchange of honey for crude oil. Passage is subsequently arranged through unpredictable waters to Lebanon. In Beirut, we exchange the crude oil for olives. From Beirut we conduct ourselves through swarms of traffic towards the Bosporus, passing through by barge and tug, and continuing to the Black Sea port of Anaklia, Georgia. Sliding into a slip at Anaklia, we negotiate the trade of our olives for timber. We then rush headlong back to Turkey with an impressive load of timber. In Turkey, we barter the timber for tree nuts and black pepper. Our load of nuts and peppercorns is then bound by truck to Slovenia where we trade for sheep. And so on and so forth, with many varitions.
Bill Burns, 2019