FRÜCHTE DER ARBEIT
Sat 17. Jan 2009 - Sat 07. Mar 2009
Früchte der Arbeit (Fruits of One's Labour) - 2008
shredded money, Euro-pallet, stove, stovepipe, glass, light, sound, decoration apples
Exhibition view: Früchte der Arbeit, Johann König, Berlin, 2009
Photo: Alexis Zavialoff
The installation "Fruit of One's Labour" blocks entry into the gallery space by means of a large glass panel, creating two separate spaces. In the front space, accessible to visitors, stands a used multi-fuel heating stove. Next to the oven, on a wooden loading pallet, lies a stack of around 400 briquettes made out of shredded Euro notes amounting to a former value of ca. 90 million euros. An approximately eight meter long, winding exhaust pipe comes out of the stove and leads through the front space, through a hole in the glass panel and into the sealed-off gallery space. Behind the panel, which, due to its framing, appears to be a display screen, a cloud of green plastic apples, made in China, billows out from the exhaust pipe. Spotlights in blue and yellow, the colors of the European Union, cast light onto the fake fruit, and euphoric Eurotechno music resounds behind the glass; the booming bass is perceptible in the front space.
"Fruits of One's Labour" was developed by the artist in the summer of 2008 for her solo exhibition at Frankfurter Kunstverein. The point of departure was shaped by an examination of the history of the financial center, Frankfurt am Main, with a focus on the European Monetary Union. While the implementation of the Euro in 1999 strengthened and stabilized Europe's clout in terms of foreign commerce, the value of money in the hands of the population dropped by fifty percent virtually overnight: the creation of value and the obliteration of value, simultaneously. Strong currency and expanded markets go hand-in-hand with both the loss of jobs and the relocation of production facilities.
The installation, with its "event character", ironically celebrates the European Union's story of success, a story which the viewer can attend only by way of the megascreen. Value is relative, according to a speculative logic that follows financial markets, and it is based, above all, on the trust in an image or an assertion. The presumption that a spring-fresh cloud of apples could emerge from the addition of worthless briquettes of money to a fuel-burning stove is purely a matter of faith.
(excerpt from the press release)