Artwork Used as Couterfeit Banknote in Store Skip to content

Artwork Used as Couterfeit Banknote in Store

A piece from the final project of art student Ódinn Thór Kjartansson for the Iceland Academy of the Arts, namely fake ISK 10,000 banknotes bearing a picture of Central Bank governor and chairman Davíd Oddsson, was passed off as viable currency at a Reykjavík grocery store.

The Capital Region Police are investigating the incident of counterfeit. The banknote was accepted at the store and the person using it was given change in return, Morgunbladid reports.

Police believes the perpetrator will be easy to track down with feed from the store’s CCTV cameras.

Kjartansson displayed two full bags of the fake banknotes at Kjarvalsstadir Art Museum last spring and had spread some on the floor in front of the bags.

There were around 20,000 fake banknotes in total and Kjartansson said he was aware of that some guests had taken banknotes with them as a souvenir.

However, the artist said it had never crossed his mind that someone would try and pay with the banknote in a store. Furthermore, Icelandic currency is not printed as a ISK 10,000 note (USD 78, EUR 61); the highest value printed money in Iceland’s currency is the ISK 5,000 note (USD 39, EUR 30). No viable banknotes bear a picture of Oddsson.

“Of course I’m sorry to hear that people are abusing my artwork, although it isn’t such a serious crime considering the amounts some people are stealing nowadays,” Kjartansson said, adding that the crime puts his artwork in a new context and gives it a new dimension. “It gives it more life and value. And is also a little funny.”

On why he decided to dedicate his final art project to Oddsson in such a way, Kjartansson said, “I thought Oddsson is a bit too powerful considering his post. It seemed to me that he was still in power although he is not an elected representative [in the government]. So I wanted to criticize that.”

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