On May 15, 2011 the indignados (the outraged) took over the squares in Spain to protest against the economy being run for the benefit of the banks instead of for the people. Money matters, now more than ever, it seems. Money provides freedom and independence. It represents an economic power balance. The amount of money one owns equals the extent of one’s power. Money functions as a general equivalent in the exchange of commodities. Money is at the heart of the economy. Money is frequently the subject matter and material matter of Spanish
artist Carlos Aires’ work. He deals with it in a physical, conceptual, metaphorical but also playful and ironic way. Cabaret is based on the lyrics of the song Money Makes the World go round from the film Cabaret (1972). The words of the song are cut out of real banknotes from different countries and spiral down into a finally unreadable, blurred centre, as if their value diminishes in concentration. The title as well
as the text of Aires’ work Sweet Dreams are Made of This (2015) are borrowed from the 1982 hit by the pop group Eurythmics. The work is a cutout of actual banknotes of the 30 richest countries in the world (based on 2013 Gross Domestic Product). The typography, which is repeated in other works of Aires’ money series, is the kind that was used by the Nazi
regime and other fascist dictatorships, suggesting the same kind of dictatorial grip that money exercises on today’s society. Though the word “money” is not explicitly mentioned in the work, the allusion is
clear. Another text-work made in the same way out of bank notes is This is not Just Fucking Business (2013). The confrontational exclamation seems to express the desire that art should be more than just a commodity, even if money seems to be the essence of the neoliberal art world. Antonio Gramsci, by the way, “never connected his account of civil society to the social function of money”. It basically escaped his