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Kerstin Brätsch for DAS INSTITUT Heavy Mädel, 2009

Heavy Mädel

Artwork Factory


Artist Kerstin Brätsch sticks American coins in the shape of a large X onto the colored clouds, which comprise pigment, acrylic and oil on paper. They represent a real value. The fact that the paper is actually unsuitable to support the heavy coins and that coins keep falling off is of no concern to Brätsch, however. She likes the fact that her paintings thus become “wishing wells”—as if you could seal your happiness with a few cents.

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Does a decision need to be made? Or a wish fulfilled? Whether using the random generator of “head or tails” or the principle of a “wishing well”—for centuries the coin toss has determined people’s fate and influenced many a decision. Can Kerstin Brätsch’s artwork, which is covered in coins, itself become a talisman?

The artwork is one of the first two in a series of coin paintings that Kerstin Brätsch began in 2009 shortly after the outbreak of the financial crisis.

Talk about it

Can Kerstin Brätsch use real money to increase the value of her painting?

Ponder this

Can the image itself have supernatural abilities?

Real coins also have a real weight: they place a strain here on the underlying paper. Every now and again coins detach from the surface, gathering at the bottom of the picture , like in a wishing well.


Is she simply knocking her change on the head here, or is she making an ironic reference to the art business that pushes up market value?

From time to time a viewer places a coin under Kerstin Brätsch’s painting. These coins remain there and change the artwork over time.


How much is a picture worth and who determines its value?

"I’m interested in painting in the extended field, with this I mean I am seeking to destabilize and expand the definition of painting, continually trying to challenge its delimitations—by trying to question the subjectivity we often ascribe to the figure of the Painter: I use painting in order to question the ways in which the body can be expressed psychologically, physically and socially."

Kerstin Brätsch


Delve deeper

Artist Factory

Artist Kerstin Brätsch

was born in Hamburg.