Film/Video Installation Performance

Philipp Valenta

Lebt und arbeitet in Hildesheim und Oberhausen, Deutschland

HERBARIUM, since 2016

Objects, flowers, cut out from international banknotes, each 20 x 26 cm


Installation, Slices of basalt colums, volcanic rock, galvanically copper-plated, cables, pc-fans, wood


In my artistic body I work with commensurabilities and processes of creating value. Definitions of luxury and money, exclusivity and precious goods as well as their questioning are hubs in my work.

In different media, ranging from painting and drawing to objects and installations I work on questions that find their origin in the financial world, the economy or royalty and fashion. Performances and interventions are also part of my work which are often developed site-specific.

The allurement and poetry of „forbidden“, unusual and sometimes rare and expensive materials fascinate me. This corresponds to the topic of commensurabilities – what are todays values and luxurious goods and how are they created? Today values are established rather rapidly – and destroyed equally fast. The mechanism behind these processes are one of the core aspects of my artistic practice.


From the series „Cham-Paintings“

140 x 140 cm, Champagne on cotton

These three works show a few of my current topics that all revolve on values and the difficulties in determining them, also in relation to other influences in society. 

Herbarium is a collection of flowers cut out from international banknotes. Especially the connection of „Blüte“ to counterfeit money links to the artificial nature this herbarium has. 

Electric Landscape is a recent work dealing with the influence of Bitcoin-Mining to nature and the energy consumption in Iceland. An abstract landscape comprising of slices of hexagonal lava columns, PC-Fans and copper-plated, volcanic rock is shaped, with the rocks, due to their copper-plating, being part of an electric circuit powering the PC-Fans. The whole landscape is only used as a means to generate the electricity needed – with the server farms having surpassed the demand of all private households in the country in winter 2019. 

The last work, Comte de Brismand from the series Cham-Paintings, is a piece of cotton set in Champagne until evaporation. With an appearance somewhere in between a marbled paper and a dirty mattress, the works of the series question the nature of the expensive liquid they were created with. 

The videos dive further into my recent topic of Iceland as an example for the disruptive and volatile nature of out global financial economy, by incorporating sound art into my work as well. Descriptions are given next to the videos on Vimeo.

The video shows one of the fumaroles in the high temperature area Hverir in Iceland. Sulfuric gas is constantly blown out, which also creates cavities in the soil and makes the ground brittle and sometimes dangerous to walk on. 
In connection to my solo exhibition Fjármálahljóð at Junge Kunst Wolfsburg 2020 the video was shown on the video wall of ZeitHaus at Autostadt Wolfsburg, the big marketing and entertainment park of VW. 
Composition: Philipp Valenta, Guitar and Sampling: Alexander Hübner
All ratings Iceland ever got by the three big rating agencies S&P, Moody’s and Fitch is translated into a specific chord. The piece is then played by three guitars, one for each agency. Every beat marks one month within the forty years of ratings.
Composition: Philipp Valenta, Organ: Nathan Hall
The piece is part of the project „The Sound of Finance“ and was composed and played during the Goethe-Institute-Residency at Skaftfell Center for Visual Art in Seydisfjördur, Iceland. The graph for the actual debt of Iceland is overlayed with the graph for the relative debt of Iceland over four decades. Both graphs are played with one hand each.

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