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Saturday, October 16, 2021

Denmark. Artist Jens Haaning took the cash to create the work. He returned the empty frames to the museum

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Danish artist Jens Haaning is refusing to refund the approximately € 71,000 he received from the Kunsten Modern Art Museum in Aalborg for the creation of two works illustrating the annual per capita income in Austria and Denmark. Instead of the ordered works, he returned two empty frames to the facility. As he explained, it is an element of his new artistic work called: “Take money and run”.

According to the original commission, the artist was to use 534,000 kronor (approximately 330,000 zlotys) in banknotes to recreate his two previous works, showing Danish and Austrian annual income per person, in kroner and euro. According to the agreement, the money should be placed in glass frames and then returned to the museum after the end of the exhibition scheduled for January 14, 2022.


The Kunsten Modern Art Museum in Aalborg, instead of the commissioned works, received two blank frames and the information that Haaning had taken money to create a new cannon called “Take money and run”.

Empty frames displayed at the Kunsten Modern Art Museum in AalborgPAP / EPA / Henning Bagger

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The artist does not intend to return the cash

Jens Haaning says he won’t pay the money back. – This will not happen. The work is that I took their money – he said, quoted by the Euronews portal. The artist believes that the empty frames are an expression of protest against the “poor” conditions of remuneration in his opinion. “I would have to add 25,000 crowns from my own pocket,” he said.

Kunsten Lasse Andersen, the director of the Museum of Modern Art, quoted by DR, believes that the artist “created an interesting work of art, but he should fulfill the contract.” A spokesman for the museum informed that the facility is expecting a cashback at the beginning of next year. – From the very beginning, we had a written contract with Jens, which stipulated that the money had to be returned by January 16, 2022, i.e. after the end of the exhibition. The contract is still in force – he stressed.

According to radio DR, it is unclear whether the artist’s approach is theft or a full-fledged work of art.

Main photo source: PAP / EPA / Henning Bagger

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