|Blood Campaign Intro 2005
Invisible Gift Photographs
I initiated Blood Campaign in 1979 in Montreal. My
principal purpose was to finance the operations of the Neoist Conspiracy by selling my
blood as an art object.
In order to increase the value of my blood I used the feedback mechanism of mystification-de mystification
process. I turned my blood into gold to de mystify the notion of the art object. I resumed
my theory in a simple equation: LIFE=ART=LIFE
I gained access to the media by employing various tools of subversion, like creating
scandals in art galleries, using confrontational guerilla actions in museums, pushing
myself into conflicts with the authorities, etc. I carried out performances which were
offensive, violent, dangerous, delirious, fascist, rebellious, perverse. I paid tribute
to the beauty of vandalism as the ultimate act of creation. I introduced the method of
surprise intervention in the form of my blood-x action, the perfect gesture to trigger
the whole system. I accomplished a great deal of work through subverting the rules, getting
in trouble with the landlords, institutions and the police.
I knew that they were all working for me by trying to stop me, by ignoring my ideas,
discrediting my work, arresting me for being an artist, putting me in jail for making
The act of blood taking became permanent part of my performances. In each performance
I collected a few vials of my own blood with the assistance of a nurse or doctor or I
was doing it myself. (I note that I studied medicine and I am also registered nurse)
I usually kept one tube of blood for my own collection and used the rest in my actions.
Besides splashing my blood on the walls of museums I also created other sculptural and
performance works. For example inserted a tube of blood into my anus, made blood soups,
gave blood kisses, splashed it on the white costume of a ballerina or on the naked body
of my pregnant wife, offered blood tubes to male or female friends for masturbation,
made bloody t-shirts... I also made more traditional kind of works on paper or on canvas,
and organized blood donations for the Red Cross, etc.
During a historical performance in a bar in Montreal, on february 24, 1981, I sold two
test tubes of my own blood, each containing10ml blood, to two art collectors for only
$20. This meant that the value of my blood was one $ per milliliter.
I estimated that the value of my blood increased radically through the first couple
of years of production. In 1981 I made a diagram that illustrated the increasing value
of my blood. According to this diagram by 1984 my blood reached the value of one million
$ per milliliter. This also meant that my blood basically became unmarketable given its
Therefore I introduced the idea of Blood Lottery so people could win my blood by buying
tickets for only a dollar. The winner could either take the money or the blood. But before
the lucky winner would choose I would advise him or her:
1/ You need money, not art
2/ You need art, not money
3/ In a few years you will still use this money, but what will you do with my blood?
4/ In a few years this money will loose its present value but that of my blood will
I calculated that the Blood Lottery will become popular very fast and people will hurry
to participate all over the world. I only needed 10 million people to establish the one
million $ per milliliter price of my blood.
To promote my campaign I initiated another idea. I announced through the media that
people can win an original blood-x painting directly made in their home on the wall.
On my promotional material I posed the following strategical question: "Why would
you dream about spending 80 million or more on a used Van Gogh when you can have a brand
new fresh blood painting of Istvan Kantor Monty Cantsin for FREE!"
These are only a few examples of the many efforts I made to increase the value of my
blood. I have to confess that the financial side of my campaign has failed and I'm just
as broke today than I was 25 years ago when I started it. On the other hand I believe
I didn't waste my blood but rather discovered its creative power through my own struggle.
It is this creative power that I intend to commemorate and immortalize with the making
of Invisible Gift / Invisible Monument designed for the new AGO.
For more information on Istvan Kantor's work please visit