Artwork One-Million-RMB Arouses Controversy

Updated: 2007-08-03 09:56

One million yuan (132 thousand USD) displayed as a piece of artwork? Whether you believe it or not, it's true. The work was named "One-Million-RMB" and has been put on show in an art gallery in Beijing's 798 art space.

The 10,000 banknotes, each with a face value of 100 yuan (13.2 USD) were placed in a rectangular frame, 1.5 metres long and a metre wide.

"People are rendered super-astonished when seeing such a lot of money. I can see the rays of light from the visitors' eyes. They are excited, puzzled and surprised."

Artist Liang Kegang, author of the artwork, explained his idea, "This is a kind of performance art, viewing which, the visitors are exchanging with the artist through their reactions to the work."

This is not the first time that Liang Kegang has used huge sum of money in his performance art. During this year's 798 Art Festival, which ran from April 28 to May 12, the artist showed the public what 51-million-yuan (6,741,127 USD) looked like. He put 51-million-yuan banknotes on a platform in the middle of a body of water, saying that the idea was inspired by a 51-million-yuan robbery occuring in a bank in Handan city, Hebei province.

The artist refused to disclose where the money came from but vowed to continue with this money-performance-art in future.

Many visitors to the art gallery stopped to watch the rarely-seen artwork. But as to the question of whether it's performance art or just flaunting one's wealth, the public have different reactions.

Xiao Zhao, a college student from Beijing, described the exhibition as quite a hit. He praised the artist's imagination and unique feeling for design.

But some others don't think so. They questioned whether the banknotes are fake, some opining that exhibiting RMB might be illegal.

A staff member from the People's Bank of China, the country's central bank, also expressed that his bank will undertake further investigations into whether or not it's permitted by law to show the Chinese banknotes in an exhibition.