Sergeï Manoliu

Born in 1953 in Bucharest, Romania, lives and works in Paris

Armored Icons – Paris, September 1999

The Manolius have painted icons in the Carpathian Mountains since the dawn of time. Serghei Manoliu has been illuminating dollar bills in Paris since 1997. He enshrines them, transforms them into armored icons.

In God we trust?

Lélia Mordoch

Dollar Imagery – Paris, February 2003

1989: the face of the world changed. The Berlin Wall collapsed and the West scrabbled to pick up its fragments for souvenirs. On Alexanderplatz, a no-man’s-land promised to urban developers, Pink Floyd performed The Wall. Berlin, freed from its status of Western Europe’s advanced outpost, saw its youthful population gather in normally deserted parks.

In East Berlin, stone buildings still bear bullet marks from World War II. Christo wrapped up the Reichstag, as he did the Florida Keys and the Pont Neuf, in Paris. A wind of hope blew from Berlin to Moscow, as if Rainer Maria Rilke’s world would rise again from the ashes.

For the first time since the Cold War started, Europe was united. The collapse of the Berlin Wall marked the triumph of a unique society in which the dollar is king. There was only one revolution left and it ended with the storming of the Bastille.

Born in Bucharest in 1953, Serghei Litvin Manoliu left for New York in 1996. He came home with the most valuable thing in the world: an idea. He would build a Wall for Adoring Wall Street. A conventional icon is never set in a frame. It must be open to infinity, so that its spirit can mingle with the divine. Manoliu’s icons would be armored.

Manoliu paints on one dollar bills. He sculpts using dollars; he turns them into Power Books reminiscent of laptop computers, into Flags and Towers.The dollar has become a medium. His latest work is entitled Glasnost – the Russian word meaning transparent and invisible. The screen-printed dollar is concealed and peels away in successive layers of translucent plastic.

From East to West, there is only one God, the dollar, now both an ideal and an idol. Manoliu illuminates the dollar bill, our society’s “Open Sesame!”, in the colors of our dreams.

Lélia Mordoch