Kevin Abosch

The Art of the Yellow Lambo

Weeks of contemplation, five days of sculpting, expert artisans, careful calculations; the sculpture created from this adept equation sold in less time than it took to manifest. Kevin Abosch’s neon sculpture, Yellow Lambo, ironically, also sold for more than the car itself. At a staggering $400,000, the sale of Yellow Lambo brought the sociological-commentary piece full circle, as this astronomical price perfectly encapsulates the phenomenon that inspired the work of art: cryptocurrency. And, most suitably, the work was exhibited in San Francisco – where the pioneers now come to find crypto-gold.

“If So, What?” No, not an existential question, but rather the title of a new art and design event that was held for the first time ever this past April and which hosted artists and submissions from all around the world, as well as notable patrons, art enthusiasts, and leaders of the Silicon Valley tech community. Here, at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco, is where Kevin Abosch revealed his 10-foot long, neon glass sculpture, Yellow Lambo. The work consisted of forty-two alphanumerics representing the blockchain contract address for the unique crypto-token “YELLOW LAMBO.” In less techno-cryptic terms, the sculpture is a numeric translation of the hashtag, “#lambo.” If you’re not actively involved in the crypto-currency community, this evident obsession with a yellow Lamborghini may be a foreign concept. But, as Abosch explains, this car and, inherently, his work represent “the emotionally charged activity of a particular group of cryptocurrency traders who use ‘#lambo’ as a declaration.” He goes on to clarify that this hashtag is not just about owning and showing off the car, but also “a way to communicate their own acknowledgement of how crazy the quest for crypto-billions has become.”

Is the artist himself an active member of the cryptocurrency community? “While I have been deeply involved in blockchain technology since 2013, I have never really been interested in cryptocurrency. That said, now that I have clients who pay with Bitcoin and Ethereum, I’m checking prices three times a day.” So, while upon initial contemplation, the neon glass sculpture could be conceived as satirical, it is not. In fact, Abosch uses this – and all his other work – to raise sociological and ontological questions. “I think my work in general poses questions that stimulate the type of thinking that brings us asymptotically towards a truth. Sometimes this is the best we can do when there are no definitive answers.” In reading about or speaking to Abosch, one is reminded of great mathematical and scientific minds as much as they are of great installation artists of the past. In a recent project, titled I AM A COIN, Abosch addressed the commodification of humanity – our value as humans transcribed to us by society. To bridge such a complex issue, Abosch created stamps with a blockchain contract address and then printed it with samples of his own blood, thus creating a literal cryptocurrency value for himself.

Abosch is not a one-trick, blockchain horse; his repertoire breaches portraiture photography, still-life photography of select objects, film, and installation art. He has lived, worked, and exhibited internationally, and is truly a man of the world. He was born in Los Angeles, and grew up between the states and Europe. In the early 90s, Abosch lived and worked in Germany, where he was introduced to fellow artist, David Hockney, with whom he would eventually collaborate. “It was in Germany that I realized that making art for me was a sacred process and an internal obligation. I never thought of making art as a light-hearted endeavor,” the artist discloses when asked about how location affects his work, “I am not just susceptible to being influenced by location, I make it a point particularly with my site-specific installation work to make it relevant to the locality.” Speaking of site-specific work, Abosch has an exciting project coming up soon in St. Petersburg, Russia, and then later another blockchain-related installment in New York City, called “Manhattan:Proxy”.

Let us alight again on Yellow Lambo, though, before Abosch is off to another exciting locale. The ten-foot long sculpture, which glows eerily in the dark, took five days to come to light in the hands of expert artisans, and a special yellow glass had to be ordered and flown in to achieve just the right shade. It is an impressive work; a monolith of glass and gas that would, indeed, look cool hung on the appropriate wall. Who, in fact, has that wall, or for that matter, the appreciation of such a behemoth? Though the array of art-appreciators was wide at the “If So, What?” event, this light installment is certainly not for everyone. Investor and former COO of Skype, Michael Jackson, evidently, has the wall and the appreciation for this piece, as he ended up purchasing it at the price of a Lamborghini – literally.

It will be interesting to see how the blockchain industry continues to evolve at this time, and we look forward to seeing how Abosch approaches this in his future works. Will he continue to shock with impressive sculptures and cryptically-coded images? Well, if so, what?

Text Leah Tassinari
Images Courtesy of Victor Bittorf