Jed Ela’s show is entitled after Che Guevara’s slogan “hasta la victoria siempre” translated as “always toward victory.” Guevara’s slogan and image have been profitably coopted, printed on t-shirts, posters, etc. stripped of meaning by those who don’t share the revolutionary’s communist vision. Contrarily, Ela’s exhibition attempts to confront market forces head-on. For instance in “100 gallons gasoline, due 2/1/2015” the work will be given “free” to carefully selected collectors, who will sign contracts to deliver the agreed upon commodity on the date specified; likewise, with ”$5000 callable zero coupon bond” the artist loans collectors a little under $500, and they will pay the artist back $5000 in 30 years. The collector receives a certificate that looks like an empty frame. This work asks collectors to participate in the artwork on a level more significant than mere shopping. The artist asks the collector not to see the work as a commodity, but as an interpersonal bond, a promise. That promise takes the form of a legal contract, an agreement to renounce profit from the work. Ela’s idea is that both his collectors and the artist agree to give up something so that others, now and in the future, might be richer.
Jed Ela received a BA in studio art from Wesleyan University and Master of Science in Visual Studies from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2003.