MOTHERLODE

VOLTA NY / 2018


The quest for gold has been a powerful driving force in history, such as during the Age of Exploration and the ensuing centuries of Western colonialism and expansionism that swept the non-Western world. It likewise provided an impetus for modern states during the Second World War to engage in armed conflict. Tales of gold seizures, looting and laundering abound in accounts of this war and of its aftermath. We hear stories, for instance, about the Nazi transferring gold to foreign banks during its height of power. Thus, gold is very much interwoven in the history of human aggression and violence, a prized metal stained with bloodshed.

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This inextricable link between gold, war, politics and economy is translated into a collection of works by Keb Cerda that both paints and animates war scene photographs to revisit the past and at the same time give it presence in this highly technologically-driven era. References to gold take the form of mining scenes that feature mining railways, dark tunnels, mechanical processing of gold ores, and miners sifting through piles of earth. These scenes are seamlessly blended into backdrops of ruins and rubbles of war-devastated cities, marching armies, and reconstruction efforts following a war. All monochromatic, the works capture the look of old photographs, only highlighted by the glittering yellow of gold.


This new set of works by the artist is another iteration of his intervention with warfare imagery archived through the lens of the camera. Inserting icons and figures from digital technology and popular culture, he transforms visual documents of the past into a kind of editorial cartoon or political commentary—confronting challenging themes and issues but invigorated by wit and humor.

Where did they all go?
/ 48″ x 60″

Blinding Light
/ 48″ x 60″

Gonna loot ’em all!
/ 48″ x 60″

Rack and Ruin and Profit
/ 48″ x 60″

Fill up them reserves
/ 48″ x 60″

March to Motherlode
/ 48″ x 60″

The King is in
/ 48″ x 60″

Cha-ching goes the dynamite!
/ 48″ x 60″