Houben Tcherkelov, (Bulgarian: Хубен Черкелов; known as Houben R.T.; born January 23, 1970) is an artist who lives and works in New York.
In his early photographs, film and installations, post-communist society is a recurrent theme. In his more recent work, Tcherkelov paints images from American and other national currencies using foil and acrylic.
In all of his work the artist seeks to suggest the way in which symbolic images legitimize national power. His works have been featured at The Bronx Museum, NY, The Brogan Museum, FL, the 54th Venice Biennial and galleries in New York, Boston, and Charlotte. He is the subject of the 2011 documentary, “Houben Paints Money,” by director Georgi Tenev.
Artist Statement :
For more than ten years, my work has focused on using images that come from banknotes and other financial documents such as stock certificates, bonds, and even checks. I believe that the US is living through the Second Gilded Age that, unlike the first, is characterized not by mass industrialization but rather by the rise and increasing sophistication of the financial sector. Thus, unlike traditional pop art of the 20th century, my focus is not on manufactured goods but on the financial instruments that are the engines of wealth in the 21st century. The currencies I work with typically reflect moments of local economic or political transition in the countries of their circulation.
In my most recent paintings, I have focused primarily on using foil and acrylic to recreate images from banknotes. This technique allows me to transfer existing images from money without drastic distortion while maintaining a connection with the pop art legacy. Often the images I paint include traces that reflect digital glitches upon digital transfers, emphasizing the relationship between the transfer of the image on to canvas and the transfer of financial information in a global economy. The works I create materialize the transients of currency in global economy characterized by cashless transactions.