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Kiki by Cadine Navarro consists entirely of 24-carat gold leaf, but the real value is in the seeds under the surface. Kiki by Cadine Navarro consists entirely of 24-carat gold leaf, but the real value is in the seeds under the surface.

Cadine Navarro
Kiki, 2018

What is it worth?

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For a bank, the question is always about cost, but it has also become commonplace in the art world. But what value do we mean? Does it make sense to ask the question?

This is just one of the themes that revolve around ‘Kiki’. The 24-carat gold leaf with which Cadine Navarro created the work is, of course, the symbol of value par excellence — or is all value symbolic by definition?

And that in contrast to what is patiently hiding under the surface: the seeds for some local crops. These have already germinated from another version of the work that was planted in the spring of 2018 in the bank’s back yard. On this occasion, it was not a bank, but the ground in Brussels and the Belgian rain that was responsible for this value-transaction: from capital to life.

A work of art as life insurance. To be planted in an emergency. Today a symbolic message, tomorrow a real piece of advice? With climate change lurking, the risks should not be underestimated. However, we learn from the title of the work, ‘Kiki’, borrowed from the Japanese, that there is hope too: as well as ‘crisis’, the word also means ‘opportunity’.

What are we waiting for to re-assess our values?