Holy Simplicity – The Jan Hus Sabbatical Stipend

The individual artists’ budget provided secures an antique silver token, originally cast to commemorate the burning at the stake of a protestant martyr in 1415.

An open proposition is made for a member of the Gallery committee to autonomously take the coin and assume an authoritative ‘Sabbatical Officer’ role, while a parallel one offers it to the visiting public.

'Title to be decided' Mexico Project Space, Leeds, Leeds.

Cast Silver Thaler (1715), glass shelf, steel, paper proposition, pins.

The Jan Hus Sabbatical Stipend.

The Jan Hus1 Sabbatical Stipend is funded indirectly from the operational budget for ‘Title to be Decided*’ at Mexico Project Space2, and the Henry Moore Foundation. The token displayed below3 has a paranumismatic value equivalent to the expenses available to each exhibiting artist .

The conditions of and for the stipendiary are that an as-yet-undecided member of Mexico make a decisive and autonomous choice to ‘step down’ and in some way set themselves apart from the rest of the collective for the duration of the show: one month.

In payment, the ‘Sabbatical Officer‘ (which must be the decision of the individual and not the group) must indicate his/her agreement to the terms by removing the token from display. Its value is roughly equivalent to four weeks or one calendar month of Jobseeker’s Allowance/unemployment benefit.

Installing themselves as ‘Officer’ of the organisation, the choice-maker might impose regulation, structure and discipline for forthcoming projects as well as a sympathetic ear to his/her colleagues. Due to scheduling complications and other ‘extraMexico’ commitments, the group’s individual members share a collective desire for control of resources and time management. Latent wishes for an orthodox hierarchical structure or an external imposition of autocracy would inevitably be disregarded if realised, and would be an impractical and ideologically oppositional solution for an egalitarian, not-for-profit organisation.

However, for an award dedicated to personal choice and individual release, it would be remiss not to address the possibility of ulterior motive. There is no clause in place to stop a member of Mexico from simply removing the token from display for his/her own ends, and they would not be obliged to reveal or explain their decision or to their colleagues unless personally compelled to do so.

If no member of Mexico will accept the terms by the close of the exhibition, the token may be considered common property, and be claimed by any visitor to the gallery, toward his/her own ends. If this expediates a decision for either party, so much the better.

1 b.1369 - d.1415.

2 Hereafter, ‘Mexico’ refers to a curatorial collective identity, a group/organisation/entity as opposed to a physical location or space.

3 Cast Silver Medallic Thaler, Christian Wermuth, 1715.