Artist works through €1.4bn to put his house in order


A YOUNG man takes a hammer to a brick of mulched paper, scattering shreds helter-skelter across the floor with each strike.

“That’s €50,000 you just smashed,” says Dublin artist Frank Buckley, who doesn’t seem to mind.

Buckley can afford to be nonchalant about the hunk of cash his visitor reduced to rubble – there’s plenty more where it came from.

The artist has been building a house out of decommissioned euro notes from the Central Bank’s mint, €1.4 billion all told, which is slightly more than the amount unsecured bondholders in the former Anglo Irish Bank are to receive this week.

While originally built as a gallery to house his series of mixed-media artwork Expressions of Recession, the house quickly drew attention for its own sake. Now Buckley hopes he will inspire visitors to question the status quo, namely the state of the euro.

“I’m sitting in my studio with my feet up on a box of €4 million of shredded notes and I thought, ‘God, this is just paper’,” Buckley said. “I just felt there needs to be a debate on this. Kids in school need to come down and see and get talking about it. What does currency mean?”

Bricks of money make up the walls and shredded bills carpet the ground on the first floor of the aptly named Glass House, an empty office building for let on Coke Lane in Smithfield where Buckley has set up camp. He has been building for 12 hours every day, and living on-site since December 1st, last year.

The home consists of a living room, bathroom and bedroom, with patio, kitchen and money shower soon to come. The whole project is set to be completed within seven weeks. In the meantime visitors are encouraged to see the work in progress.

Actual construction hasn’t cost much. The largest expense was €35 on as-yet unused wallpaper and the lumber was donated by building supplier Chadwicks.

“Current affairs can be art,” Buckley says.

And so can currency.