Writing, Curating and Lecturing on Visual Arts, Public Space and Architecture

The Pimp of Reality

Article on Madis Katz's exhibition at Artishok Biennale 2012. First exhibited 15.10.2012 next to Katz's exhibition, later published in the exhibition's catalogue.

Gregor Taul x Madis Katz


The Pimp of Reality



Several of the AB artists deal with the economy, investigating the homo oeconomicus: Epp Kubu looks at the individual’s relationship with the benefits offered by advertisements, c: focuses on the macro economy of dwarfs, Paco Ulman, Timo Toots and Anu Vahtra keep an eye on the real estate market, Madis Katz analyses the behavioural economy in the example of body (covering) trade. I, the critic, am dealing with statistics. You, the reader, are an extra. (Sorry, only from the perspective of economics.)


Continuing black and white: economic analysis insists the target be rational. Can art that is not interested in profit be the target of economy? Naturally. Specifying the economic objectives is just a matter of wording. All has been worded as it is: economic relations are reality. Each person who accepts reality is homo oeconomicus.


But since reality is wordplay, there is the need to also practise settling matters the opposite way: to translate random examples from economic functioning into art problems.


Katz adds another twist to the translating, ‘revealing’ language’s economic logic:


language                       economy

the invisible hand       grammar

dollar                           phoneme (the smallest unit of meaning)

taboo                           putting money aside

‘cock’                         ‘economic depression’

‘willy’                         ‘recession’

inflation                       the disappearing of a language

deflation                     the extraordinary valuing of a language

etc. etc. etc.                 economic growth



Madis Katz is the language between language and economy. The way he sells dirty words on clothes does not differ from how a pimp sells people on street corners. Katz sells vulgarity as the aspect of taboo in a language; a pimp sells people as the aspect of taboo in the economy. Why is ‘cock’ vulgar and ‘willy’ is not? Why is it wrong to sell or buy people but OK to sell or buy a kidney? The answer: fully-developed verbal behaviour. Although salesmanship can turn it upside down.


Katz is a pimp-salesman, whose clients are verbal acts. I suppose business is going well: written vulgarities in a public space (even on walls and Internet commentary sections) are a deficit. In addition to that, deficit words can be advertised as an investment into letters of repentance: from now on you will think more about the language, think more about reality.


The Ground Dissector’s Misfortune 
Analogue Case

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