Anya Gallaccio

Ars Futura

In the past, Anya Gallaccio has used chocolate, cactuses, and oranges in her work. In this exhibition, money was both the medium and the theme of her installation. She made a golden carpet of 50,000 5-rappen pieces, and although it might have seemed a cliché, in its sheer, physical presence the piece brought home its point better than any abstract concept could. The coins, with a value of 2,500 Swiss Francs or 1,000 English Pounds, covered an area of more than 15 square meters. Money here was a mere material—an abstraction without meaning. It had lost that magic that guarantees the compatability of the most disparate social systems.

In theory, when the exhibition ended the coins were to be returned to the vault. But this was impossible in the case of the piece entitled Door (Monica), 1993. Gallaccio placed approximately 250 flowers between a glass pane—that matched the size of the front door—and the wall, and hung a curtain of about 750 flowers over the front window of the gallery. On the first day the Monicas were fresh and bright red; two weeks later the hanging flowers had collapsed and the others had disappeared behind a white covering of mold, or turned black.

Flowers and money, beauty and decay, love and power—the fascination with this kind of dialectic is undeniable. We project our innermost needs onto these objects and concepts. That the more common and understandable they are, the better this becomes clear behind the rotting curtain of flowers.

Claudia Jolles

Translated from the German by Charles V. Miller.