Transaction11th October 2021 - 7th January 2022
Location: Galerie Mayci, Birmingham
Transaction is an exhibition of paintings by Myfanwy Johns, curated by Peter Grego. It comprises a series of paintings that link seventeenth century tulip mania in Holland, with contemporary financial investments, such as the stock market and crypto currencies. Human nature has both a desire to create and exploit. All transactions are acts of hope where the purchaser wishes to benefit from future accruals of money. Paintings in their own right are also much like investment commodities, where collectors speculate on their value increasing for future transactions.
Tulips became widely distributed throughout Europe from their beginnings in Asia during the twelfth century. Carolus Clusius, a French horticulturist who set up a botanic garden at Leiden University in 1593, introduced them to the Netherlands. The striped tulip became very fashionable. The stripe at the time was caused by a virus and was not genetic which meant the pattern was rare and could not be bred and repeated with any certainty. This desirable colouration caused people to buy bulbs in the hope they would provide similar flowers in the Spring. Bulbs changed hands many times and this speculative market gave the name of ‘futures’, which is currently used in contemporary stock market trading.