Print Edition 3/12
It was Alexander of Macedon, whose portrait was the first in history to grace a coin around 300 BC and it manifested his claim to be the ruler of the known world. Since then countless other heads followed, belonging to monarchs, dictators, politicians and war heroes but also philosophers and cultural figures. They all represented the societies they emerged from. Money was the visible mirror of power and the images on coins forged national identities around the globe.
One decade into the 21st Century money is becoming an increasingly invisible – faceless – force that seems to spiral out of control while the world is tumbling from one financial crisis into the next. The national governments that once emphasized their own power on the currencies they released seem to be unable or unwilling to control the unfettered force of a globalized financial market. Financial trading has become a virtual realm in which computers programs trade unimaginable amounts of assets at unimaginable speed. Simultaneously a cashless society is emerging. We pay with our credit or debit cards, our wages are electronically transferred into our bank accounts and we pay most of our bills online.
My images re-focus on the ‘small change’ that went through countless hands from in different countries and different eras. But now, on a larger scale and with all references to their monetary value digitally removed, the portraits in my images look like ancient sculptural reliefs. With a small story about all the depicted personalities attached they reflect on the depicted individuals but also on the cultures these small artworks represent.
Queen Elisabeth II
Born on 21 April 1926 in Mayfair as Elisabeth Alexandra Mary. On 9 July 1947 she married Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark. On 6 February 1952 she became Queen of the United Kingdom as well as Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Pakistan and Ceylon. However, the number of countries she ruled changed significantly
during her ongoing reign of 62 years. Despite various affairs in the House of Windsor, which culminated in 1992 (Annus horribilis) and 1997 when her estranged daughter in law Diana died in a car crash her popularity especially in England remains at very high levels. Despite her popularity very little is known about her private life, which seems to evolve around her love of race horses and Pembroke Welsh Corgis, an old breed of dogs. Due to her age she is increasingly passing on public engagements to her heir apparent to the throne, her son Charles, Prince of Wales.