Histoire Économique is a series of frottage renderings of the fronts of banks. The title of this group of rubbings is a reference to Max Ernst’s “Histoire Naturelle” (1926), a major work in the history of frottage. The rubbings in Histoire Économique were taken from the fronts of banks and made outdoors in the City of London over the period of a year. The work is inspired by Newman’s own performance as a bank rubber, recorded in her novella “Common” in which she documents her endeavours of playful protest as the Self Appointed Artist-In-Residence in the City of London. The rubbings in Histoire Économique detail facades of many different banks within the City of London - a global financial capital. Frottage is associated with hobbies like brass rubbing, but is also a method utilized to explore the unconscious, or relinquish conscious control of an artwork. While corporations are currently given status as individuals via corporate personhood, Histoire Économique attempts to use frottage as a tool against that personhood, to reveal undesirable unconscious aspects of corporate behavior, in crude rubbings.
Hayley Newman is a performance artist with a passion for humor, fiction, ecology and activism. Her commitment to working collectively around the current ecological crisis forged ‘The Gluts’ (Gina Birch, Hayley Newman and Kaffe Matthews) who took their musical ‘Café Carbon’ to the Copenhagen Climate Summit in 2009. She is a member of the art-collective ‘Liberate Tate’ whose performances have focused on urging Tate to drop its oil-sponsor BP. Her novella ‘Common’, written as self-appointed artist-in-residence in the City of London, was published in 2013. She lives and works in London and is represented by Matt’s Gallery.