(Italy, 1955)

Untitled, 2008
Sulphuric acid on banknotes of 1 and 5 $
Three thousand originals distributed for free
Produced by CCCS, Florence and Galleria
Franco Soffiantino, Turin

What turns an object into art? Where are the analogies between money and art? For the exhibition at the CCCS in Florence Cesare Pietroiusti covers a wall with 3000 one- and five-dollar bills previously treated with sulphuric acid and stamped on their back side. Due to these interventions each of the banknotes has lost its worth as a currency while being transformed into a unique work of art. The visitors are invited to take one of the bills, on the back side of which Pietroiusti has marked the following instruction: “each monetary transaction involving this artwork will invalidate the signature of its author and consequently transform it into a fake”. This project, which merges installation and performance elements, plays on the fundamental elements of the art system, namely authorship, originality, authenticity, possession and monetary value. By inviting the audience to actively take part in this process in which he is excluding explicitly the conversion of the individual artwork into money, he communicates his own vision of art as a non-monetary gift. Pietroiusti thereby undermines the logic of the art market which thrives on the idea that a work of art in not only a commodity saleable at a certain price, but that it may even generate a profit. By excluding the characteristics of an artwork as a convertible currency, he is revealing and removing one of the fundamentals of the art market.

Interview to Cesare Pietroiusty by Radio Papesse


Luchezar Boyadjiev (BUL)
Marco Brambilla (I/USA)
Marc Bijl (NL)
Fabio Cifariello Ciardi (I)
Claude Closky (F)
Denis Darzacq (F)
Eva Grubinger (A)
Pablo Helguera (MX)
Damien Hirst (UK)
Bethan Huws (GB)
Christian Jankowski (D)
Atelier van Lieshout (NL)
Michael Landy (UK)
Thomas Locher (D)
Aernout Mik (NL)
Antoni Muntadas (E)
Takashi Murakami (J)
Josh On (CAN)
Dan Perjovschi (RUM)
Cesare Pietroiusti (I)
Wilfredo Prieto (CUB)

Palazzo Strozzi