Top Floor Idol

Top Floor Idol

Performative Installation
3 hours a day
26-05 until 30-05-2021
Empty Spaces II,
Graf-Recke Strasse,
Düsseldorf, Germany

Top Floor Idol is a performative installation displayed on three levels of the office building at Graf Recke Street in Düsseldorf, portraying the route of gold, from being a raw material to the romanticised and capitalist symbol of wealth. This project was part of Empty Spaces II – Unpin the Butterfly, curated and initiated by Mara Sporn. 


In this performative installation one visitor at a time takes the elevator and stops at multiple levels in the building. They are not able to get out of the elevator with the exception of the 3rd level. A wall would block the exit of the elevator making it look like the person is underground. A few scattered golden granules will be placed in the wall. The visitor is only able to see this as long as the elevator doors are open. This floor is representing the natural environment of gold, without any particular human symbolism attached to it, but still with the possibility to spot it.

2nd floor: The visitor is still not able to exit the elevator but they are able to see the transformation of a material that does not have a precious attribute into a golden piece of material. For example, e piece of brick, or a piece of normal metal.

The visitor is able to witness the irony of the adding of value to an object or a piece of material by seeing performers painting the ordinary materials with golden paint and setting them aside in an orderly fashion.
In the third floor the transformation of the materials is given a strong identity by having an pseudo-exhi- bition scenario, where the space outside of the elevator is darkened and spotlights are used to display a gold- en icon with cultural connotations. For example, golden idols that are supposed to bring you wealth and good fortune. Like the feng shui frog or fish. Maybe even a piggy bank. Piglet /Glücksschwein (good luck pig).

Click on any of the images to enlarge


Top floor idol is a performative installation in three stages, using the elevator as a means of transportation through the narrative of the work.
What does it mean when we enter an elevator? It means we use an instrument of optimal and fast transportation in between the levels of a building. Keeping the levels of a building connected in this way, at the same time, it has been for many years helping to keep a strict hierarchy in between the levels of power in an organisation. Thus, physically separating the lower and upper pay grade jobs. So, the elevator becomes a symbol of capitalism, industrialization, and display of wealth.

As we move up on up the floors, we may want to think about what it means to accumulate wealth; what value and prices we give to matters that are in a sense not valuable at face value. Objects or materials become often only valuable through their symbolism in certain circumstances.

Gold is one of the earliest and most widely recognized examples of assets (or material, matters) that are only valuable because humankind says they are valuable, and because of their rare nature. As a material it has two main purposes: industrial appliances and (self-) augmentation (i.e., jewelery, decoration, being a status sym- bol, object of admiration, of divination, defining that something is precious or even holy). Its value is abstract, in the sense, that its value increases only through the fact that people position gold as something precious and that some value adding processes are applied. However, lastly, gold is precious because people say it is precious.

For thousands of years, it has been embedded in the brains of humankind, that gold will offer something di- vine, that it would offer independence, diminishes sadness, offers joy, wealth, or that it is an universal currency.

Performers: Salmo Albatal, Eunbi Oh, Gustavo de Olivere Leite


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