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La Monnaie de Paris, a historical institution in France, will host an exhibition featuring NFTs by British digital artist Robert Alice. The event, planned in collaboration with the NFT platform La Collection, was revealed at NFC Lisboa, opening on June 29.
La Monnaie de Paris, established on June 25, 864, has the distinction of being the oldest active French institution. It not only produces euro coins for France, but also serves as a museum of money and economics.
Dominique Anterion, the head of historical collections at La Monnaie, says: “We have amassed an extensive collection of coins, medals and financial documents over the centuries.” This upcoming exhibition, made possible by La Collection, aims to enhance this rich heritage.
Alice’s artwork, deeply influenced by blockchain, cryptocurrency and the monetary system, fits harmoniously with La Monnaie’s historical collection.
The exhibition will immerse visitors in a unique mix of physical and digital art. It skillfully weaves the narrative of cryptocurrency and blockchain into the institution’s centuries-old history. “People often see money as a subject for specialists, an ironic perspective given its ubiquity; everyone spends money, says Anterion.
Consequently, this exhibition presents a new way of engaging in the conversation about the concept of money, facilitated through creativity.
London-based artist Alice is known for selling the first NFT at a major auction house, in October 2020. He intends to promote the democratization of blockchain technology through this exhibition. “Displaying crypto in a 1,000-year-old national institution will help normalize the perception of crypto and NFTs,” declares Alice. He strongly supports decentralisation, and emphasizes that centralization often leads to economic crises.
Alice’s preoccupation with crises, particularly monetary crises, and the less glamorous aspects of currency, set the tone for the exhibition. Anterion remembers that in their first meeting Alice showed no interest in the most valuable or beautiful objects. Instead, his attention turned to those that tell a story of struggle and adaptation.
Amidst the growing prominence of NFT art and new technologies, La Monnaie de Paris is pursuing various digital initiatives. In fact, one of them could be the creation of own NFTs. “Creating digital tokens for La Monnaie, a mint that has produced physical tokens for centuries, would bring our mission full circle,” says Anterion.
By engaging in dialogue with Alice’s artwork through its own works, La Monnaie de Paris can contribute significantly to establishing cryptocurrencies as a worthy component in the annals of economic history.
A few months after the acquisition of NFTs – including a CryptoPunk – by the Center Pompidou, a major museum institution, France appears more welcoming than ever to the NFT ecosystem.