NXT creatives

Robert Glas

HKU Hogeschool voor de Kunsten Utrecht

The Golden Mountain: One kilogram of Indonesian tea sold by the leaf for any reasonable price

The Golden Mountain: One kilogram of Indonesian tea sold by the leaf for any reasonable price is the result of a period of extensive research on how the prices paid for Indonesian tea are interwoven with colonial history. An installation of five panels depicts 4,121 tea leaves in life-size scale. Each tea leaf is separately photographed with scientific precision, and when placed together they form a representation of one kilogram of tea. The artist has indexed each photographed tea leaf numerically, stored them in cardboard boxes, and exported them from Indonesia. This process allows visitors to pick their own tea leaf for purchase. A key part of this installation is an example of the product visitors can buy during the exhibition for ‘any reasonable price’: a piece of passe-partout cardboard (17 x 23 cm) with the leaf carefully mounted on the frontside and a certificate of authenticity silkscreened on the backside. This certificate provides context for the visitor to learn how the symbolic system of pricing used by the artist relates to the system of pricing used in the Indonesian tea industry.