One Million
2019-2020
One million euros of shredded euro banknotes
Variable dimensions

Produced with the support of Bank of Portugal.

Historic: (2020) Solo Exhibition, “One Million”, Appleton Box, Lisbon, PT.

Images: © Bruno Lopes. Installation view at Appleton Box, Lisbon, PT.


Descriptively, the work consists of a million euros of shredded euro banknotes, aglomerated in a pile, illuminated by a faint light. These banknotes were shredded from banknotes that were already in circulation, but were no longer fit for use and this amount has been destroyed at the artist’s request. This work underline the symbolic value of money as opossed to the real value, destroying a popularly recognized key amount - one million - reducing it to a lot of worthless paper. Somehow, the pile’s shape also remind us the stereotyped image of a treasure present in popular culture, like Uncle Scrooge’s pile of money or the treasure at the end of the rainbow.

“(...) However, the work does not imply a criticism of capitalism. Like previous works, the artist highlights features of this system through the modification of its structures, changing their scales and recognition. What becomes more evident with these actions is that both paper money and coin in the work “Golden Cent” (2017) are originally objects that have been given a codified specificity, which can be superficially characterized as neutral signifiers, to which a value has been set up that can be modified whenever necessary. The critical inflection is projected by who is confronted with these works, either through praise or injury, exclamation or interrogation.
Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” - Pedro Gonçalves, 2020.