Dublin artist opens shredded billion euro house to public
DUBLIN AN ARTIST is welcoming tourists to his Dublin home — made from 1.4 billion euros ($1.8 billion) of shredded bank notes — to stimulate debate about Ireland’s ailing economy, he told AFP on Monday.
Frank Buckley built the three-roomed apartmentcum- gallery over three months, from bricks made of mulched, decommissioned notes provided by Ireland’s Central Bank.
With the help of some donated timber and a door and a window given by a friend, the total cost to the struggling artist was just 35 euros, spent on wallpaper paste.
Buckley, who finished the construction in January, said he hoped opening his home would boost sales of the “cashon- canvas” collages which hang on the walls as part of his exhibition, entitled “Expressions of Recession”.
“I won’t be charging for entry but will look for donations and I will have about 80 of my paintings that people can buy,” he told AFP.
Many of Dublin’s residents can relate to the idea of a house that has swallowed up over a billion euros yet is worthless as a property, and Buckley says it has proved popular since his grand opening on Thursday.
Ireland’s once-proud ‘Celtic Tiger’ economy, famed for its double-digit growth for a decade from the mid-1990s, contracted sharply in recent years, hit by a property market meltdown, soaring state debt and high unemployment.
In November 2010, the International Monetary Fund and the European Union mounted a rescue for Ireland worth 85 billion euros as the nation was crippled by massive sovereign debts.
Buckley fell victim to the downturn himself, slipping into negative equity and having his car towed away by Irish authorities.
“I have had a hectic few years to say the least,” he said.
His billion-euro home is built in what was an empty office building whose owner was hit by the property market collapse — which worked out well for the artist, if not the developer.
“The developer just completed it as the bubble burst,” said Buckley, who eventually plans to dismantle the gallery and take it on tour around Ireland and abroad. “I went to him and he was delighted to give it to me.” “It is a curiosity,” said the artist, who uses a local gym to wash and the cafe next door to eat. “People swing by after visiting other tourist attractions.” He added: “I am delighted this is creating a debate about money and currency — who gets it, who gives it, who makes it, what do they do with it.
“There are a lot of schools coming in and they are actually now doing projects around currency and the value of money, which is brilliant. Even if it closed down tomorrow, it has worked,” he said.