Golden Showers

1997

 

A live video/performance
150 mins

1999
Hi 8 video edited on computer disc; 120 mins on VHS video (rewind & repeat)

2005
Digital edit of Hi 8 material

Trailer 3 Minutes

 

Insurance value DVD: 200 Euros

 

 

The installation Golden Showers comprises of a 2 hour silent video edited from the documentation of a performance in which the artist's naked body was covered with gold leaf, by German art restorer Wolfgang Sassmanshausen. The original action took part in a room sealed off from the public - spectators were able to view the undertaking, transmitted by cable to a monitor. The completed piece may be seen on either one, or more screens.

7 plastic curtains and 6 colour posters hang around the monitors. Each 'shower' curtain measures 100 x 400 cm and is made of small plastic sachets sewn together. Each bag contains a date label and a sample of the artist's hair from natural hair loss, collected daily; one curtain represents a full year. The posters by image and text inform the reader with several possible interpretations of Golden Showers. The video may be shown without the curtains and posters.

Unwanted hair is usually collected from shower plugholes and thrown away, but there are examples in history, where hair remains preserved as the only remaining testament to the life of a human being. Under Hitler's dictatorship, the Nazis collected shorn hair of women camp inmates to use for mattress stuffing. Gold teeth were extracted from dead mouths, and wedding rings stolen from corpses, to be melted down and re-used. Because the tattoo number 4711 is seen on the artist's body in the video/performance Golden Showers, a different type of shower is suggested; one that emits gas not water. At the same time 4711 is in fact well known as the trademark for the German product K├Âlnisch Wasser. The Eau de Cologne perfumery's house number became renowned following the introduction of the consecutive numbering of houses, during the French occupation under Napoleon, in 1796.

50 years is a Golden Anniversary. In the late 1990's it emerged that Swiss banks had 50 years previously received the equivalent of $6 billion of Nazi Gold and secretly hoarded it from that time onwards. This video/performance Golden Showers honours this Anniversary.

<i>Golden Showers</i> Installation with 4 curtains, City Library Munster (D) 1997, documentation Ralf Emmerich