2006 | 24k gold | 5.5 x 8.5cm | edition of 2 | Photo: the artist

In Gold Card (2006), Muller offered an edition of 24 carat credit cards. The work’s preciousness was accentated by its display in a lit showcase at Sydney’s Sherman Galleries. Gold Card had it all – sheen, purpose, mobility – but how to price it? Given that the price of gold is fixed daily in London, would the price change everyday? Muller’s rectangle of yellow metal was not only easy on the eye but highlighted the workings of the art market. The capacity to calculate the exact value of its materials on a daily basis explicitly set up questions about the role of artists. How do artists place a value on the conceptual development of a body of work? If the same amount of metal had been presented as an ingot in the gallery or if the work had been presented in another context would it have been priced differently?

Wonderfully, Muller offered collectors the chance to experience the work even further. Each purchase was to be accompanied by Gold Card diagram (2006), a digital print providing collectors with the information they needed to melt the work down. This print which looks deceptively simple is rich in social and scientific codes. Described by Muller as being like a ‘rosetta stone’, it reflects his love of illustrative diagrams. Muller’s desire to challenge collectors to undo his craftsmanship was inspired. If they had second thoughts, they could cash in their purchase. By relinquishing control over the work and empowering collectors to complete it how they chose, Muller really did invite speculation about the range of social formats in which gold exists.

Jasmin Stephens, Gold standard art, Artlink, vol 27 #1 p. 88-89