Think of it as Money!: A Solo Project by Adrià Julià

  • A white bird mid-air

Think of it as Money!
A Solo Project by Adrià Julià

Curated by Juli Carson


Oct. 7-Dec. 16, 2023
Opening Reception: Saturday, Oct. 7, 2 p.m.

Contemporary Arts Center Gallery

Adrià Julià’s large scale installation, Making Money, presents a constellation of artworks, in which the legacy of Hercule Florence—the 19th century French inventor—is the protagonist of a durational dreamscape, one in which money is the shapeshifting medium, bending and stretching through time. From Florence’s attempt to invent a Brazilian banknote—at once reproducible as currency and irreproducible as forgery—we land up in the mid 20th century of Dee Hock’s invention of the Visa card, a precursor to the 21st century derivative driven financial crisis when both the US Dollar and Brazilian Real fell. Along the way, Julià makes a detour through early photography—Florence hand also experimented on a different photographic technique than that of Daguerre and Niepce. The entwined history of money and photography therefore aligns with the history of colonialism, de-colonialism and post-colonialism, all of which is bound up with imperialism’s long history of extractivist practices, the Anthropocene’s origin story. Meanwhile, the fate of “new money” lies in our unforeseeable future, the ‘event horizon’ of which is blockchain and cryptocurrency. Mythologically, crypto has been evangelized by the likes of Peter Thiel and Elon Musk as being immaterial and autonomous, though they very much are not. Witness the dirtiness of crypto mining factories—each bitcoin transaction consumes 1,173 kilowatts—and the fall of Silicon Valley Bank, whose $200 billion in assets was a lifeline to crypto.

In Making Money, Julià literally works through this dreamscape—each image, sculpture or film being a performative artifact of the outmoded processes specific to the long history of making money and photography. In a digital world, one might ask: What could be more outmoded than the banknote, at a time when global markets are trending towards a cashless society? For instance, in Sweden—by way of Swish, a cooperation between six of the largest banks in Sweden—cash is now used for less than 15 percent of Swedes’ daily transactions. True, the global future will more likely be cash-light than fully cashless, but the hegemony of digital wallets is deeply problematic because cash and carry consumers are relegated to the margins. Meaning, whenever something’s outmoded, there’s always an attendant politic symptom. This is the context in which Julià, following the Surrealists, doubles down on the outmoded banknote. As Walter Benjamin said, the surrealists “perceived the revolutionary energies that appear in the ‘outmoded,’ in the first iron constructions, the first factory buildings, the earliest photos, the objects that have begun to be extinct, grand pianos, the dresses of five years ago, grand pianos, fashionable restaurants when the vogue has begun to ebb from them.” Adrià Julià is one such fellow traveler to the surrealists, and Making Money is his contemporary dreamscape.

Learn More

Image: Passarinho que come pedra sabe o cu que tem (4306) | Little Bird that Eats Stone Knows its Ass (4306) | 2019 | Mix media | 16.54x23.39 in | copyright © Adrià Julià


Department of Art949-824-4917 | |
University Art Galleries949-824-9854 | |
Gallery hours: Tuesday-Saturday, noon-6 p.m.

   Discounted Advance Pre-Paid Parking Permits
Reserve at least the day before the event.

Free admission


Please visit our secure direct giving page and make a gift to support the Department of Art today!
Make a Gift

Saturday Oct 7, 2023, 12:00 pm to Saturday Dec 16, 2023, 6:00 pm
Saturday Dec 16, 2023, 12:00 pm to 6:00 pm
Reception Date: 
Saturday Oct 7, 2023, 2:00 pm