paolo monti
art + science


paolo monti = art + science


Infra-tazebAu s'pace 2011 ▪ Paolo Monti

Monday 28 November 2011

Sala Odeion - Museum of Classical Art
from 9,30 a.m. – 19,30 p.m
Faculty of Letters & Philosophy La Sapienza University of Rome- Piazzale Aldo Moro, 5


Paolo Monti + G.A.U.S.S.
Blazing Departure. Art infraseen from above
Art and science meet in the orbiting gallery of Paolo Monti

During the European Week of Scientific Culture 2011, promoted by the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research, on Monday 28 November 2011 in the Odeion Hall of the Museum of Classical Art at the Sapienza University of Rome, a day of study will be held dedicated to the opera of Paolo Monti, Infra-TazebAu s'pace Information in revolution. C.G.B. an epistemologically propelled satellite. Shroud {Sindone} R.F.I.D. 21’37”.

His work, carried out for the microsatellite Edusat-G.A.U.S.S. (Group Astro-dynamics, University of Studies Sapienza) and launched into orbit this past 17 August from the Space Centre at Yasny in Russia, consists of a blank whitened one dollar banknote, defaced of its symbols and signed by all the members of the Gauss team and the artist himself.

Edusat-Gauss has been elected by Monti as his personal gallery, and first orbiting gallery.

During the course of the day a video-projection will illustrate the orbit of the satellite-gallery in transit across the skies of Rome, identified by the ground station SPIV (San Pietro in Vincoli) located in the GAUSS laboratory in the School of Aerospace Engineering.

Art, science, epistemology and economy are the pivots on which Paolo Monti’s art rotates and, their interdisciplinary approach will be the themes discussed during the convention.

The Infra-TazebAu s'pace project is promoted by the Polo Museale Sapienza and by MUSIS - Museum of Science and Scientific Information in Rome.

The TazebAu Project

Since 1996 MUSIS - Multipolar Museum of Science and Scientific Information has activated an interdisciplinary dialogue with Monti in various fields of knowledge and, in particular, between Art and Science, with his participation in numerous editions of the Italian & European Week of Scientific Culture. Since the 80s, in fact, this artist has been working in the sphere of visual arts through personal research taken to the limit between Art and Science, producing work in which the observer, through active involvement, becomes a participant capable of modifying it.

Also in this latest piece of work Monti wanted to put himself in an interdisciplinary ambit, ideating the opera TazebAu (*Au stands for aurum/gold); used as a propaganda instrument or as a political accusation by the Chinese students during the Cultural Revolution. Tazebao was originally a hand- written declaration, whose meaning has become, through expansion, that of a critical statement.

The first phase of the project took place in 2005 when Monti put his TazebAu in the hands of a group of motorcyclists on the Marco Polo Motoraid 2005, which left from Venice, 1st August and arrived in Peking on 18th September, and followed the route taken by Marco Polo. Paying homage to the Venetian Market to which we, in the Western world, owe the introduction of paper money, Monti conceived TazebAu like a traveller’s journal, made up of thirteen blank banknotes: one for each country travelled through. Whitened banknotes, stripped, scraped clean of their ink but intact in their structure, onto which the members of the mission and the artist placed their signatures.

At the end of the mission the banknotes were analysed by means of different spectrograph systems: from infra-red to ultra-violet, from electronic noses to investigation using ultra-sound, even to molecular identification; an undertaking of scientific research and symbolic of the visible and non-visible traces left by the journey. “Monti semi-cancelled the official seal, or altered it, in order to cause tension with the signature during a voyage that represents the circulation of other things and, above all, gives it other values. Why, in his work... – and this is his exceptional intelligence with his scientificness –money is not denied as such, like a symbol that makes sense as a carrier of a determined represented value...and even continues to keep it circulating, travelling” (Enrico Castelli Gattinara).

In 2006 the astronaut Paolo Nespoli signed the TazebAu s’pace, inaugurating the space project. The artist continued his research with the project EduSat, set in motion in 2005, financed by the ASI, Italian Space Agency, in collaboration with Gauss and with ImtSrl, with the aim of involving secondary schools and getting them to participate in the space programme.

To continue and extend the journey of his work, on 17th August 2011, from the Space Centre at Yasny, in Russia, the Gauss satellite was launched with the Infra-TazebAu space on board.

Conceived by Monti for the satellite, his work consists of a dollar bill, chemically whitened until it becomes almost illegible. As organiser Laura Rossi commented...”like a palimpsest, a written page, erased and rewritten, structured from nothing but a dollar stripped of its symbols, it goes back to being a simple white sheet of paper, a film onto which impress new expressions. The image transmigrates into powder, leaving traces (...) on the white banknotes like an imprint: cleansed support, anonymous deposit in our memory. The material matter is sublimed in a new state; the symbol dissolves into a composite of relationships”. Also in that occasion his work was signed by all of the members of Gauss and by the said author before being sent into orbit on board the satellite Edusat Guass, elected by the author as his personal gallery and first orbiting gallery.

Eclectic and polyhedric artist, Paolo Monti has always carried out interdisciplinary research with his art, which extends from science to epistemology, from philosophy to economics. His work on the banknotes has enthused, among others, also economists like Nikolaus K.A. Laufer, whose “personal and favourite interpretation of the “Dollar-image of the artist “is the symbolic one of the downfall of the international, post-war monetary system”, or it has also attracted the attention of philosophers like Massimo Carboni: “Money is not...hired as a form or means...but as material conditioned by a process of decay: it does not dissolve in the merchandise but, within itself...Money is not, by nature, merchandise gifted with intrinsic value, its quality exclusively consists in its quantity. Monti materialises the abstract value, its phantom; turns the process back-to-front which leads to the exclusion of the goods bought with money...taking it back to its original condition of material-object with an extreme, residue of worth”.

Friedmann Malsch, director of the Contemporary Art Museum in Lichtenstein, even though he noticed a descendants from Duchamp and Beuys in Monti, he recognised the originality of his creative path towards a liberation of the abstract value of banknotes in which the artist works, once freed from their material value: “In many of his works you find overlapping in a direct manner of the physical presence of the banknote and the abstractness tending towards the absurdity of the monetary value. (...) The artistic intervention re- captures a “freedom” for the money, treating the banknotes through physical processes and chemical substances which, with time, lead to the dissolving of the base material of the abstract value.”



CNR - National Council for Research
CNR-ISTC - Science & Technology of Cognition Institute
Circolo Bateson* - Epistemology of Living Systems Study & Research Laboratory
*C.G.B. a Circle dedicated to Gregory Bateson

G.A.U.S.S. - Group of Astrodynamics, University of Studies La Sapienza
La Sapienza University of Rome
MIUR - Ministry of Education, of the University & of Research
MUSIS - Multipolar Museum of Scientific & Technological Information

Scientific Coordination: Chantal Cappelletti - G.A.U.S.S.
(Group of Astrodynamics University of Studies Sapienza) 

Organisation: Laura Rossi, O.A.S.I. Observatory Arts Science Innovation,
tel: +39 06 90286151 / +39 06 9641840 / mobile: +39 338 8107315  /  /

Press Office:
Allegra Seganti  +39 335 5362856 
Flaminia Casucci +39 339 4953676

top of page

in search of traces left by contexts traversed, absorbed as in a "litmus test" through a dendritic panoptic observation of the world...

Paolo Monti, Lift-Off 2011