Money Fountain - Money Suitcase

250 x 140 cm and 65x 40 x 20 cm
Diverse materials, coins and banknotes of many nations

Commissioned by the Linz09 Cultural Capital of Europe Project „The Ill Rabbit“, Kunstraum Goethestraße xtd
Commissioned by Retretti Art Center, Punkaharju (Finland)

Money Suitcase 7
Money Suitcase 6
Money Suitcase 5
Money Suitcase 4
Money Suitcase 3
Money Suitcase 1
Money Fountain 6
Money Fountain 5
Money Fountain 4
Money Fountain 3
Money Fountain 2
Money Fountain 1

Click image to enlarge.

Money Fountain - Money Suitcase

In "Money Fountain" an endless stream of coins from around the world shoot up into the air and fall jingling back into a glittering well. The monetary well is like a reverse wishing well, with the promise to fulfill every wish that money can buy. With this Tea Mäkipää asks the question of whether money can substitute for clean air and fresh water. This may sound abstruse; however, if Drinking Water© becomes available only in labeled bottles and Clean Air™ merely through climate control systems, while the monuments of the finance grow, then "Money Fountain" is a small memorial to this development, an ironic and above all melancholy declaration of love to the irreplaceable, vanishing nature.

Einen endlosen Strom von Münzen aus aller Welt wirft „Money Fountain“ empor und lässt diese wieder klimpernd in den glitzernden Brunnen zurückfallen. Der Geldbrunnen entspricht einem verkehrten Wunschbrunnen mit dem Versprechen, jeden Wunsch zu erfüllen, den man mit Geld kaufen kann. Tea Mäkipää stellt damit die Frage, ob Geld saubere Luft und frisches Wasser ersetzten könne. Das mag abstrus klingen, doch wenn Trinkwasser© nur mehr in etikettierten Flaschen und saubere Luft™ lediglich über Raumklimasysteme verfügbar wird, während die Monumente des Finanzwesens rasant wachsen, dann ist „Money Fountain“ ein kleines Denkmal für diese Entwicklung; eine ironische, vor allem aber melancholische Liebeserklärung an die unersetzbare, verschwindende Natur.

Money makes the world go around !?!

If we think about money, we think about the desire to consume and buy, to possess and guarantee our (required) economic status elusively hoping that coins and banknotes are able to enhance and protect our quality of life. That money can't buy happiness might be a well-known wisdom, but human being is intrigued by this illusion which is often linked with a certain blindness towards the environment beyond the narrow field of the individual area of life. Tea Mäkipää delves deep into this vicious circle of our living conditions, focusing on issues of unrestrained consumerism and complicated negotiations between human beings and the nature that mankind transforms through pollution, urbanism and consumption.

Her installation "Money Fountain" consists of a large glistening spring with an endless stream of coins from around the world which are shoot up into the air. Like in a fairy tale, the fountain is sparkling and the audience is attracted by the wish to grab and to keep them as if they were in front of a magic wishing well - a deceiving promise that ones wishes can fulfilled if there are enough funds. Though the coins of the fountain fall back to the bottom and our desires remain unfulfilled.

The complementary work of this installation, “Money suitcase”, contains a plenty of banknotes which are flying out in the air. It reminds a cash-filled bag which has been lost during the chase of the police following a bank robber. A bag with an uncountable amount of money which seems to prospect of carefree existence.

If we were able to get all this money, would this be the key to the happiness on earth? On the one hand the consumer is surrounded by an offer of the most possible amount of marketable and salable products, including our common goods as water and natural resources. On the other hand the substantial goods, which ensure health and quality of life, are not for sale. The excessive consumption of material products, one of the guidelines of the life model of the Western world lifestyle, is directly connected to air pollution and the worldwide ecological destruction, catastrophic effects which are destroying the planet.

“Money Fountain”, commissioned by the European Capital of Culture 2009, Linz09, where it was installed in public spaces like in a mall and on a square, and “Money suitcase” are a kind of monument to this ceaseless finance growth and the everyday consumption craze, and furthermore a melancholy declaration to the irreplaceable goods of the unspoilt nature which are vanishing as a result of this development.

The starting point of these two works was during a journey of the artist in Beijing, the world capital of air pollution, where she has been faced with the accelerated and even more degenerated development of the ecological devastation caused by the economic exploitation and rapid population growth. How can the degradation of the environment be stopped if the world continues to emphasize economic growth as an answer to social justice and enjoyment? Money might be the tool to buy all-desired material goods, but it will not be of any help in bringing back what we've lost during ruthless destruction of the natural resources and the environment, in the times of globalization.

We can continue as usual with our efforts of catching as much money as possible, but the arresting visual vocabulary of Tea Mäkipää's incisive criticism of the Western civilization, reminds us how this quest is self-destructive and mutually dependent to the ruin of our planet. Money may make the economical world go round, but since mankind is part of nature, which obeys other laws, there is the pressing need to turn from this path.
It's up to us.

Claudia Löffelholz