For Iron I Gave Gold is an art project that expands the perspective of exchanging values and discusses in form of two events the reinterpretation of values and if or how art projects can influence or even change our system of values.
The project reveals a possible reinterpretation of contemporary values by the practical substitution of a materialistic and a humane/social value. Self-made iron rings will be sold for the value in gold (defined by the day price of gold). One receives an iron ring but pays the value of it in gold that will then be used for the educational re-integration of children/teenagers working in artisan gold mines in the region of Kahama, Tanzania.
In 1833, Princess Marianne of Prussia asked Prussian women to give their gold in order to fund the war against Napoleon Bonaparte. In exchange, they received an iron brooch or ring with the inscription ‘Gold gab ich für Eisen’ (Gold I gave for iron). A similar appeal occurred during WWI, when the German state asked its cititzens to donate their gold for funding the war and support families who lost relatives. People donated their gold jewellery, coins a.o. and received as a thank you iron medals or rings (known as Berliner Eisen) with the same inscription as earlier.
The above events in history have been the basis for the project For Iron I Gave Gold. They demonstrate how a materialistic value can shift to a nationalistic and social value and how common sense supports a different exchange: one gives gold in order to receive protection.
Antoinette Vonder Muehll is the initiator of this project and maker of the rings. Please find more information about her on www.antoinettevondermuehll.com