Irish conceptual artist Kevin Abosch recently sold a cryptocurrency inspired artwork for $US400,000. Curiously, the piece, which is inspired by the popular hashtag #lambo in the virtual currency community, cost more than an actual Lamborghini.
Kevin Abosch is known for transgressing the concepts of art, technology and monetary value. In 2016, he made headlines for selling a photograph of a potato for €1 million (A$1.59 million).
Last week, the controversial artist sold his digitally-inspired artwork called “Yellow Lambo” to former Skype COO Michael Jackson at the San Francisco art fair.
The piece is made of a string of 42 yellow neon alphanumerics that represent the blockchain contract address for a crypto token called YLAMBO, created by the artist.
The hashtag #lambo – short for the Italian luxury car Lamborghini – is widely used in the cryptocurrency world to express the ultimate trading success, a holy grail, something to buy when rich. The car has become a symbol of easy, cryptocurrency-acquired affluence.
“When I first became aware of the use of #lambo on social media, it struck me as vulgar,” said Abosch told Business Insider.
“But the more I thought about it, I realised that it’s actually just a declaration acknowledging the insanity around the crypto zeitgeist.”
It’s not the first time the artist managed to sell a crypto-inspired art piece for an outrageous sum. In February, he sold the virtual artwork “Forever Rose” – a blockchain crypto-art rose created by Abosch and GIFTO, a decentralised universal gifting protocol – for the equivalent of US$1 million (A$1.3 million) in cryptocurrency, making it the most valuable virtual artwork in history.
“Depending on who you speak to, one person might ask, ‘Why would someone spend $US400,000 on bitcoin?’ Another person might ask, ‘Why would someone spend $US400,000 on a car or a piece of artwork?'” the artist reflected.
“It’s a cause for discussion on why and how we value anything at all.”
The Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg will exhibit another blockchain-inspired artwork of his in May.
“There is no physical or visual manifestation of the work,” Abosch said. “Someone asked me, ‘How is it possible that something that you can’t see or touch can have value?’ I have to wonder whether or not people who ask this question have an unhealthy relationship with material things.”