Alessandro Balteo-Yazbeck participates in the exhibition "Petromelancholia", at BRUTUS in Rotterdam. The thematic shown brings together 32 contemporary artists of different cultural backgrounds and generations.
The activity of Balteo-Yazbeck (Caracas 1972) is directly related to Venezuelan socio-political history in the global context of extractivism, specifically oil.
According to historian Sean Nesselrode Moncada: The ability of oil to serve as a connective tissue between business investment, government policy, military campaigns and artistic patronage forms the basis of much of the conceptual practice of this artist. In his readymade-performance piece, entitled "last barrel of oil, date postponed" made of sustainable wood, paper, ink, printed paper, financial markets and sales protocol, Balteo-Yazbeck prices a 3.5 centimeter miniature (multiple) piece to the fluctuating future value of oil on the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX). With its date permanently postponed to an unknown future, "last barrel of oil" offers an education in the mechanics of petroculture. Art and commodity, fossil fuels and exchange value: everything becomes fungible. The physical object evaporates conceptually before our eyes, sifted by the abstractions of financial indexes and the world art market in a continuous performance. Like a stored treasure that can never be fully accessed, but is tantalizing in its promise. This small barrel exists as pure potentiality.
During the opening, the artist executes the same sales protocol that his gallerists have been repeating for more than a decade to offer for sale his "last barrel of oil" to the attending public.
The exhibition "Petromelancholia" curated by Alexander Klose, of the German collective: Beauty of Oil, will be open from September 2 through November 19 at BRUTUS, Rotterdam. This non-profit institution, was recently inaugurated in March 2022, and is the largest interdisciplinary exhibition and performance space dedicated exclusively to contemporary art in the Netherlands.