YAMI-ICHI: Buying Art Without Money

YAMI-ICHI is an international art event that mimics art auctions by employing non-monetary forms of transaction. Find out more here.

What happens to the value of art when we strip away money as currency?

This simple but loaded question sits at the centre of YAMI-ICHI’s ethos. In an art market where capital is the status quo, where worth is summarised by price tags, the answer might seem unimaginable. YAMI-ICHI, meaning ‘black market’ in Japanese, tests the possibilities of this concept that is directly at odds with what we know.

In the words of Sachi, the founder of YAMI-ICHI: “Actually, everything in our world has a monetary equivalent. The point of YAMI-ICHI is to prompt artists and audiences to rethink different forms of value and open up new ways for people to be involved in art.”

Past YAMI-ICHI auctions have shown that it is an imaginative and deeply playful experience. The exchanges were not just tangible transactions, but also human connections.

Sachi has kept in touch with past event attendees, quietly documenting the human relationships that have been forged and live on after the auction is over. Below, she has shared some of these fascinating after stories with Exotero!

Exhibition opportunity in Colombia (YAMI-ICHI event in July 2017, London)

Gwen, a London and Rotterdam based conceptual artist, participated in YAMI-ICHI’s London auction in 2017. She presented a series of paintings and talked about the concepts behind her works as well as her ambition for the future. Among many different exciting offers, she decided to take an offer from Lorena, who offered an exhibition opportunity in Lorena’s home country, Colombia. Lorena is a CEO of a creative community called COLLAB, and she thought she could help promote Gwen’s work abroad. The exhibition in Bogota happened in December 2017, where Gwen’s works were presented and the exhibition attracted more than 400 people at the opening.

Check out more of Gwen’s stunning work here!

Opportunity to climb snow mountain with a qualified guide (YAMI-ICHI event in March 2017, Tokyo)

Japanese artist Tatsushi Takizawa is one of the participating artists in our very first event in Tokyo. During the event, he held a series of workshops as part of his artwork “Face” – in which the public was invited to participate and create their own work using shopping bags. One of the offers he chose in the auction was the opportunity to experience guided snow mountain climbing. The bidder Keisuke Yunoki, another participating artist, is a qualified snow mountain climber. In 2018, they did a first climb in Japan. It became a regular activity and they’ve climbed different mountains a few more times since then.

Tatsushi’s work can be seen on his portfolio website!

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