Das Geld, die Liebe, der Tod,
die Freiheit - was zählt am Ende?
Money, Love, Death, Freedom - what
counts in the end?
Berlin, Germany 2000
After the return of the federal government from Bonn, the German government commissioned Jochen Gerz to create a permanent work for the court of honour of the new Ministry of Finance in Berlin (Wilhemstraße 97,10117). Gerz interviewed civil servants of the Ministry on video and asked them a question about what really counts for them in the end: money, love, death or freedom.

The monologues of the civil servants reflected the topography of the site of the Ministry, which was first built in 1935 as the Ministry of Aviation, during the Third Reich. It was rebuilt after the war to become the communist ‘House of the Nine Ministries’. As one of the interviewees put it, « freedom and death are especially close to each other here ». Contributions also referred to the 40 years of the Communist state, to the postwar era in Western Germany, and the reunification of the country. Personal and often ambivalent memories of freedom, money, love and death follow one another.

Who are ‘we’ and who are ‘they’? Who has the say today? And who will speak for us in the future? A Fuhrer, a Chairman of the State Council or a Chancellor? An artist, a civil servant or our victims? Who will earn the money, love, die and be free for us?

51 interviews were chosen for the public installation; 51 monologues, each lasting about a minute. Outside of the Ministry two screens resembling cash terminals were activated every time a passer-by pressed a button.

As long as things are going relatively well, you don’t need the State a lot… If the situation is bad, then you call on the State for regulations to protect you from unemployment, poverty or whatever. Once this phase is over, people want less State intervention again.

Money does set you free! And love is certainly the all–pervading subject of everyone’s life. The most valuable and greatest gift, if you are lucky enough to receive it.


Object: 2 screens are set into the two stone doorposts of the court of honour. By pressing a button, a metal plate is opened, which gives way to the screen. Three interviews follow each other after which the set is turned off automatically.

Publication:
- Das Geld, die Liebe, der Tod, die Freiheit - was zählt am Ende? Money, Love, Death, Freedom - what counts in the end?
Glaux - Verlag, Jena 2000 (German and English)

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Photo: Rainer Krause
 
Photo: Gerz studio
 

     
Texts - German, English, French - on the art piece, Das Geld, die Liebe, der Tod, die Freiheit - was zählt am Ende?.pdf