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"The Soul of Money" exhibition

Department 58 – International Relations
Department 58 – International Relations


Updated 21-4-2020
  • Updated - Approved grant

Title of the ProgrammeCultural Heritage and Contemporary Art - programme area no. 17
Title of the Project"The Soul of Money" exhibition
Project Website

Number of the ProjectČíslo projektu
Project Promoter


Name of Norwegian Partner(s)

Libia Castro & Ólafur Ólafsson

Objective of the Project

The application is being submitted by DOX Prague, a.s., the founder of the DOX Centre in Prague, the most progressive and largest modern art institution in the Czech Republic (3200 m2 of space for exhibitions and programmes). The project includes the preparation and implementation of one of the Centre’s three chief projects for 2016, which includes an original educational and attendant programme, and publication of a catalogue. It also includes a “supplementary activity” – a conference on the topic of the project, prepared in cooperation with partners from Iceland.

The project’s name is “The Soul of Money”, and will take place from 21 January 2016 to 24 April 2016 in the building’s main hall and mezzanine (covering about 1000 m2). Its curator is L. Válka, the Centre’s founder, and its co-curator is M. Šilpochová (see enclosed CV). The academic sponsor of the conference, attendant programme and open call is Tomáš Sedlácek, PhD, a renowned Czech economist and university lecturer (Chief Macroeconomic Strategist at CSOB, in the past also an adviser to president V. Havel, a member of the National Economic Council, etc.), also known to the professionals and the general public thanks to his book Economics of Good and Evil: The Quest for Economic Meaning from Gilgamesh to Wall Street, which has been translated into 14 languages. The applicant will collaborate on the project with the artistic duo of Libia Castro & Ólafur Ólafsson, leading representatives of Iceland’s contemporary art scene. The qualifying expenditures of the submitted project total 4,577,700 CZK excluding VAT. “The Soul of Money” focuses on money as a phenomenon that we are all – willingly or not – a part of. In today’s world, as wealth is creating ever-wider gaps in social hierarchies and the world is facing a level of economic inequality of an unprecedented scale, money has turned into one of the greatest modern taboos.

The project aims to explore some of the implications of the grand colonization of today‘s world through the current economic model. It will reflect the situation of today’s society on the “supermarket stage”, where we all play on vanity, marketing, dreams, snobbery, and the desperate desire to “be someone".

It looks at the extent, variety and absurdity of this situation, in which every act(including an artistic one) turns into a commodity, as do our lives (especially in the context of aggressive marketing strategies). The project also offers a selfreflexive commentary on the contemporary art world, which operates on the very same economic model. The issue will be dealt with through the development of the following aspects: “All the World is a Supermarket”; “Winners & Losers” (transformation from a society of social inequality to a society of incommensurability, i.e. the mutual recession of the poles of the economic spectrum, the world of the poor and of the rich); “Priceless Art, Noble Culture”:
consumption of art as a social phenomenon, the art market, and social status; “Changing the Rules of the Game?”: a search for alternatives to the current state of affairs – to an unsustainable economy based on permanent growth.

The project meets support criteria within the scope of PA (programme area) No. 17, and corresponds to the sector’s strategic documents. The exhibition has the potential to have maximum impact on the general public, and to gain a “new public” for contemporary art, on several levels: thanks to the topical subject matter, which is de facto relevant to everyone, also thanks to a public open call focusing on alternative economic systems, a number of attendant and educational programmes for all school types, a related conference that includes a presentation on the potential of contemporary art in relation to social issues, plus also thanks to the project’s all-round publicity.

The project will be realized between April 2015 and April 2016.


Approved grant

3 243 464 CZK

Project DurationStart date: 19th May 2015, End date: 30th August 2016