Controversial coin art by Andre Levy
Brazilian Sao Paulo born designer Andre Levy (a.k.a. @zhion) is currently based in Frankfurt, Germany. The recent exhibition of his art works – painted coins in the gallery of Norwich, England, featured a series of portraits painted on coins of different countries. The coins turned real image into something opposite, for example Franco on a Spanish coin into Divine, Chinese coin remade into René Magritte’s “The Son of Man”, etc. These miniature fantasies of iconic figures of pop culture fit into the space of the real image of a coin have some controversy. Some people see Andre Levy’s creativity as a work of art, others as a kitsch and disrespect to their culture. Indeed, there’s a thin line between expressing artistry and being respectful to other cultures.
The project called ‘Tales You Lose’ presents coins from suddenly new side. The artist’s statement – What makes some cents more valuable than others are the stories they carry. Sometimes they are just not yet to be seen. Those are the Tales You Lose.
There is some controversy about his painting on national coins with the portraits of monarchs, political heroes. Not all people enjoy his art, some even get insulted. “Before you started painting Thai coins, you should have at least tried to understand Thai cultural practices and beliefs first. Then you would have known better to never insult or joke about the Thai King in any form. I believe you have crossed that line and you owe Thai people a sincere apology…”
“We are constantly surrounded by pop figures – in films, in music, comics, and even in gossip magazines. They are sometimes our escape from reality, our . Coins portray something opposite: the real, the everyday. Any political meaning originated from the paint interventions you see in this coins is purely coincidental”.