This article describes an exhibit in London of a Colombian artist's money-inspired works. -Editor
A new art collection showcasing money is inspired by the design of banknotes – perhaps to become an endangered species in a future
cashless society. Colombian artist Santiago Montoya, passionate about the powerful messages conveyed by banknote iconography, is back in
London with his latest work – Money Talks.
Montoya believes the design of paper money carries more beauty and tells us more about ourselves than most citizens realise when
casually handling their ‘wad of cash’ every day.
Standing a few metres away from five large and colourful mosaics, one sees each of them showing the shape of a different currency – the
Dollar, Euro, Yuan, Pound and Rupee. They are somehow intimidating pictures.
The Money Talks collection is at the Halcyon Gallery, in London’s chic and moneyed New Bond Street. It transmits the omniscient
but cold nature of money. And the knock-on effect comes when one gets closer and discovers the images are made up of endless rows of
banknote cuttings that form collages.
The symbols on the notes – patriotic heroes on horseback, religious temples, farmers, spinners, industrial ports, mythological animals –
are as varied as the countries which issued them. Banknotes from different times and places turn out to be a unique reflection of values,
ideologies and principles. Santiago Montoya’s work gives us the opportunity to stare at these little pieces of art and history with new
eyes. He re-interprets paper currency as both a canvas as well as a raw material.
The 41-year-old artist from Bogotá, Colombia, had previously used the aesthetics of materials to introduce meaning in his works. The
results are collections where appearance and concept bear equal weight – with varied international influencers such as Tom Friedman and
Andy Warhol. His obsession with money and capitalist desire is also present in most of his recent work.
“Money is the meeting point of all humans on this planet. For good or bad, we are inter-related to one another through it. And it gives
us pleasure as much as it makes us miserable,” explains Montoya.
Funnily enough, the man who cuts, stretches and pastes paper money to make us see its weak nature – counterpoint to its global power –
is the same whose works have gone for £125,000. Maybe this is the irony of the irony. Maybe it is the cleverest way of playing the game by
knowing its rules. This is an artist who critiques money and by so doing, ends up making it for himself.
To read the complete article, see:
Columbian Artist Teaches Us That Money talks
Wayne Homren, Editor
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