September 30 - December 31, 2006
It’s lying like discarded money, past its date, written off, the last bit in the vault. However, the little stacks of banknotes are still recognizable for anyone who used to have them in his wallet. A blue banknote, with a value of 10 obsolete Dutch guilders (for the younger people among us, that’s approximately four and a half Euros). These banknotes are no longer legal currency, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see people stoop down to check out a small, blue-lined scrap of paper lying on the ground. And that’s precisely what makes it so funny, says artist Jeroen Jongeleen.
He likes to play with the expectations and habits of people. That’s why he prefers making his work in the street or in unusual places. Like in this vault. Although superficially these stacks of ‘sticky’ banknotes may just seem a good practical joke, to Jongeleen they represent deeper layers of meaning. For instance, printing money – fake, single-sided, or otherwise – is an offence. Fake banknotes have to be printedover with the word ‘specimen’ in capital letters, or executed in inappropriately large formats. Even so, says Jongeleen, official statistics show that two percent of the money in circulation is counterfeit money.
Be that as it may, working with money – or something that looks like money – holds for the contemporary artist Jongeleen yet another dimension. In our day and age, even culture can’t escape the virus called entrepreneurship. An artist has to earn money and can’t (or won’t)settle for charity. Therefore, Jongeleen earns money by making money, in a straight and honest way.
Influenza/ free money for all is a project realized by Jeroen Jongeleen at the request of exhibition space MU in Eindhoven for the Hermitage in Helmond. In the coming months, visitors are free to distribute the blue banknotes far and wide.