Sculpting A 100 Euro Note
Four-channel video installation
100 EUR value banknotes are made of 100% cotton. Yao Qingmei uses these notes as the raw material for her sculpture. The original etymological meaning behind the word ‘sculpture’ is connected to the meaning ‘to eliminate material’. For this work Yao Qingmei rubs constantly with her hand against a banknote until a tiny hole appears. Specifically, it is rubbed until a cer- tain amount of its material becomes removed, which in turn removes the monetary value of the money – an action conducted by the artist through a performance that takes place across various locations.
Video 1: Avenue de Montaigne, 7'22''
A performance, which takes place in Avenue Montaigne: luxury stores occupy this entire street. Passers-by do not heed attention to the artist’s performance at all.
Video 2: Aubervilliers, 7'22''
A performance, which takes place at a less affluent area: there are people threatening or bribing artist to give the note to them.
Video 3: Champs Elysees, 7'22''
Taking place at Champs Elysees, the artist conducts the performance right next to a beggar. People are gradually gathering around them, until the police appear and stop the artist’s performance.
Video 4: Auction, 4'22''
Artist takes the sculpted 100-EUR banknote to an auction. There is a tiny hole, which can be seen on this 100-EUR note. The hole causes the loss of the banknote’s monetary exchange value from the constant “rubbing” performance. The artist sets a value of 100 EUR as the bottom price, which is also the cost to produce this art piece. The work is eventually sold at 450 EUR. Hence a value of 350 EUR price becomes the dif- ference produced by the tiny piece of cotton removed by the artist.
(The video 4 is a co-production of Palais de Tokyo in Paris and Pavillon Blanc in Colomiers.)