My Moneyeaters series is a statement against greed and materialism. I want to make people stop and think about how humans feed their emptiness with attachment to money and material wealth. I observe that many people and institutions are driven by excessive materialism and do not recognise when they have enough. Moneyeaters represent these. I made them death masks to demonstrate that money is a dead material. Humans can’t eat money but they seem willing to choke their life in the search to consume more.
I developed a new technique that I call canvasrelief. I use the white canvas like a winding sheet on a corpse. My money heads choke on their excessive greed because they can’t get enough. I use real money as material to make people realise that it is only paper and that they attach too much value to money and material wealth. I want to say that the symbolic value on the note should not be exchanged for life energy or life experience. I want to give the message “Don’t be a slave to work only to collect a dead material”.
The aim is to point to the transience of everything I want to question why people in our modern society seem to have lost respect for the laws of nature and disregard the experience of having enough. I want my artworks to remind people how invaluable their lifetime is and that it cannot be bought or exchanged for material goods. Excessive consumption takes life energy from nature and from other humans. I want a transformation in our society so that people can recognise when they are full and have enough so that we can live in balance with nature and with one another.
Biography of Monika Stahl:
The introduction is focused mainly on the transformation as artist
I have been painting for about 12 years and have developed a unique acrylic technique. I am deeply inspired by the writing of Eric Fromm “To Have or To Be” and his philosophy* what notably influenced my art.
I am using bank notes and coins as material. Through ripping, cutting, burning and painting over them I constitute the transformation from the possession-centered mentality into the being-centered mentality. I have been studying and improving my technique in New York. I met with notable success and have attracted the attention of the banking and business world, where I had numerous exhibitions.
* Erich Fromm (March 23, 1900 - March 18, 1980) was a Jewish Deutsch-American social psychologist , psychoanalyst, sociologist , humanistic philosopher, and democratic socialist
summarized in a simplified way:
In its illustration the existence of having stands for the evil of momentary civilization, the one of being, however, for the possibility of a fulfilled, not alienated life. Modern society is defined by the mode of having or wanting to have; its behaviour is shaped by the extent of private possessions. On the contrary, independence, freedom and rationality are prerequisites for the mode of being. The being who is not driven by having but instead by being, finds himself, unfolds an inner activity, which must not be confused with pure busyness or hustle, and can actually use his human skills efficiently. To this human possession means nothing, love however means everything…
At the end of his work Fromm elaborates on similarities between ways of thinking which disengage from the thought of “Having” and have commit to the viewpoint of “Being”. This spirit of “Being” is characterized by the following aspects:
1. Production should serve the fulfillment of people’s real needs instead of attending economic requirements.
2. The exploitive relationship between nature and mankind is replaced by a cooperative liaison between humans and nature.
3. The antagonism between human beings is substituted by solidarity.
4. The primary goals of social arrangements should be the well-being of mankind and the prevention of human suffering.
5. Mainstream consumerism is replaced by responsible consumerism (consumerism for the well – being of the human species)
6. Individual are motivated to actively participate in social life.