Danish artist Jens Haaning unexpectedly tricked the Kunsten Museum of Modern Art in Aalborg. Instead of the art installations that the Museum of Modern Art ordered from him, he handed over only empty frames to the exhibition hall. It is intended to be a critique of contemporary capitalism.
In his work, the Danish conceptual artist Jens Haaning focuses on the power inequalities of capitalist society. In 2007, he created an installation called The Average Danish Annual Income, in which he pasted the canvas of the painting with Danish crowns. Four years later, he followed it up with a work in which he replaced the euro banknotes of his home country with euros.
This year, the Kunsten Museum of Modern Art in Aalborg donated 534 thousand Danish crowns (almost two million Czech crowns) to the artist to recreate both installations for her exhibition. However, when the gallerists unpacked the shipment Haaning sent them last week, they found only two empty frames called Take the Money and Run. The diary informed about it The Guardian.
“Two days before the opening of the planned exhibition, Haaning sent us an e-mail promising two new works. We are not exactly a rich museum, so we have to think a lot about what we are investing in and really don’t have the money to waste.” gallery Lasse Andersson.
Haaning’s attempt to criticize contemporary capitalism was not much appreciated by the gallery owner this time. According to him, the artist violated the contract he signed with him and demands that he return the fee for the undelivered installations to the museum by January 16 next year. “He’s a respected artist, so I believe he’ll meet the deadline. But if that doesn’t happen, we’ll be forced to take legal action against him,” Andersson said.
However, Haaning, 56, insists that he did not commit any fraud. “The essence of the work is that I took their money. It’s not a theft, I just did not comply with the terms of the contract, but this is exactly what I tried to do in my installation,” the artist emphasized.
“I would like to encourage all people who face the same poor working conditions as me to do something similar. If they have to sit in horrible jobs for days and don’t get paid, they should grab everything that goes at the first opportunity, and cough it up, “Haaning added.
Despite the disappointment at the non-compliance with the contractual conditions, the museum in Aalborg decided to show its visitors what the artist sent to the gallery. Haaning’s empty frames have been on display since the end of September at the Work It Out exhibition, which looks at the relationship between art and work.
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