Michael Riedel: Riedels

Installation Views
Press release

GRIMM is pleased to present Riedels a solo exhibition by Michael Riedel. This is the artist’s second exhibition with the gallery and his sixth exhibition in New York.

Michael Riedel’s conceptual practice is rooted in appropriation and the subsequent alteration of a variety of materials ranging from art exhibitions, film screenings and concerts, to readings, experiences, and overheard exchanges, among other sources. For this exhibition the subject of his process of re-creation is a collection of personal conversations which the artist plans to distribute in the form of money.

Through a collaboration with the Deutsche Bundesbank, Michael Riedel obtained 30,000 blank Euro notes – a sanctioned opportunity to use this symbolic material as a medium for this project. The Bundesbank is the main bank of Germany and one of the most influential members of the European System of Central Banks. Bundesbank produces and circulates physical currency and also monitors the dissemination of counterfeit Euros. Riedel has appropriated this standard currency to create his own eponymous money: the Michael Riedel.

There are 43 types of bills included in this body of work and the ‘exchange rate’ for 1 Riedel is equivalent to both 1 US Dollar and 1 Euro. The design of the currency follows the artist’s fundamental interest in re-purposing textual information so that its fluency follows an internal logic but mimics aspects of standardized systems of communication and presentation. In this instance, the graphic art of the different bills is made out of 14 years worth of email communication with his former New York gallery, David Zwirner. The correspondence takes on a new fragmented form, exploring the difficult relationship between contemporary art (which the artist sees as inextricably tied to methods of presentation and distribution) and its monetary value.

The show presents an ATM cash machine from which visitors can purchase Riedels. The ATM facilitates a routine exchange, but here the artist has intervened by staking a claim on the value of each unit of currency which doubles as an artwork. This highlights a through line in the artist’s oeuvre; the idea that anything that can be considered art is also fungible, particularly within the context of a data-driven, capitalist society. A complete set of Riedels can also be purchased in a custom-made leather wallet. As an alternative the money can be bought directly from the artist.

This work was first displayed at the Geldmuseum Der Deutschen Bundesbank in Frankfurt am Main (DE) as part of the exhibition Michael Riedel – Geldmacher, from 2017-2018. The artist proposes this exhibition as a test run for world-wide distribution of the Michael Riedel, with the objective of dispensing his currency at selected international art institutions.

Opening: Thursday October 17, 6-8pm