Looking for Headless

Goldin+SennebyKelly Duncan


Book, 18 x 10.9 cm, 99 p, language: English, publisher: Goldin+Senneby, ISBN: N/A; This project is still under development.
Materials: ink, paper

Collection: Collection M HKA, Antwerp (Inv. no. B 2024/777).

Literary synopsis

"In the forthcoming novel Headless, the fictional author Kelly Duncan tells the story of two artists – Simon Goldin and Jakob Senneby – who initiate a collaboration with author John Barlow: Goldin and Senneby investigate an offshore company on the Bahamas called Headless Ltd., and Barlow writes a docu-fictional murder-mystery, also called “Headless”, based on these investigations. The three protagonists increasingly become entangled in the world of offshore business, while speculating about the possible connections between Headless Ltd and the secret society known as Acéphale (from the Greek a-cephalus, meaning “headless”) founded by Georges Bataille and his circle of friends connected to the Collège de Sociologie in Paris in the late 1930s."

- Lisa Rosendahl

Relation of the novel to the artist’s practice

“Could the shadowy world of offshore banking somehow harbor an incarnation of Georges Bataille's secret society, Acéphale? This bizarre and provocative proposal is the premise of Headless, a project begun in 2007 by the collaborative team of Simon Goldin and Jakob Senneby. Its symbol, a headless man, pays homage to Acéphale's adoption of André Masson's notorious drawing of a gruesome decapitated figure – a perverse inversion of Leonardo's enlightened Vitruvian Man – with a skull in place of his groin. The Swedish artists' examination of how financial systems relate to forms of invisibility focuses on Headless Ltd, an offshore company recently registered in the Bahamas, and has yielded an array of collaborative and aesthetically unpredictable outputs – including a quasi novel, a feature-length documentary, hush-hush presentations in the financial districts of European cities, and lectures in various venues on economic geography and Bataille's esoteric club. Spokespersons, emissaries, and ghostwriters stand in at these events for the artists, who seemingly pull the strings from an undisclosed location, enhancing the project's cloak-and-dagger appeal. If Headless mines the opaque epistemology of the offshore as a source of artistic inspiration, its results inevitably inspire fascination; they could not be more economically timely or politically explosive.”

- T.J. Demos, “Openings: Goldin+Senneby”, Art Forum, March 2011

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