In Untitled (McDonald's Stock Certificate, German Version) Tom Sachs invites the spectator into a hand-made world of consumption, mass production, social injustice and social contradictions. In this meticulously crafted example from 2003, Sachs chronicles and parodies America's shift from an industrial to a consumer society. A society that might not actually be good for us.
Much of Sachs' work is about "branding", how the individual is captured inside a complicated system of temptation and desire. His world is a focused enumeration of things and phenomena that characterize our standardized way of living.
He defines his style or formalistic language (how the forms are drawn) as "bricolage," an artistic expression where the hand of the artist is clearly visible. The spectator sees and feels that it is the artist who speaks, giving the appearance of the forms a double meaning. By making an object in first person it becomes not only a description or a representation but also an appreciation about the object itself. The artist speaks through the material and the form of the material, a spiritual transcendence is passed on to the spectator.
Tom Sachs is a political artist. He has seemingly doubts about aims and possible results of multilayered enterprises that rule and control the economy and the social system. He is critical of fad and the fading out of the self-expression, he is skeptical towards the "throw-away" mentality and overwhelming consumption, he fears the oppression of the individuals by dominating "visionary" corporations and brands. But at the same time he is fascinated by their well-structured and functioning mechanisms. He is not fighting the capitalist system, he is more eager to point out the things that go wrong and to repair them.
Like Warhol and Koons who came before him, Sachs is fascinated by celebrity culture and consumer status. This celebrity principle also holds true for industrial produces. In the present example, McDonald's has been transformed into a global emblem, mostly by dint of its associated with sports and entertainment personalities, whose mass appeal fans the fires of consumer passions. The smiling faces of the staff, brightly colored uniforms and global iconography invite us inside a world we already frequent as Americans, and as citizens of the world.