Dan Mihaltianu

Vodka Pool, 2009

Commerce Court, King Street West

Dan Mihaltianu installed a reflecting pool of 80-proof vodka on the pristine floor of the CIBC bank atrium at Commerce Court. Throughout his career, Mihaltianu has explored the processes of distillation and the symbolic qualities of alcohol. Liquor and liquidity bear more than passing associations to banks and money: intoxicating, like the euphoria of riches; volatile, like the vanishing of investments during economic downturns; and alchemical, like the transformation of use value into exchange value. In black markets and other underground economies, the connections are even more literal. Within extended conflicts, wars or totalitarian regimes, such as that which the artist lived through in Romania during Nicolae Ceausescu's regime, alcohol has served as both a sense-numbing escape and a home-brewed currency for procuring essential goods and services.

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