Under the title le Rien en Or (“Nothingness in Gold”), the Swiss artist, electronic music pioneer (Yello), and entrepreneur Dieter Meier has gold-plated 11 ordinary objects in Zurich’s city centre: bridge railings, traffic signs, lamp posts and drainpipes. This gold-plating is intended to draw attention to the objects. The culmination of the exhibition series was the unveiling of a golden ball, the Gold-plated Century Ball in Zurich Main Station on 9 May 2008.
The Gold-plated Century Ball (“La Boule d’Or Centenaire”) is displayed in an illuminated glass case in the floor of the station concourse with the object of drawing attention to nothingness and insignificance. In the next 100 years the ball will be taken out on the following eight dates and rolled 12 metres along a wooden gangway as a demonstration of transience: 9 May 2008, 5 June 2008, 18 September 2016, 28 August 2033 , 12 June 2064, 21 July 2082, 18 January 2097, 9 May 2108. It also made this journey outside a gambling casino in Hamburg on 26 April 2008. This video provides you with some atmospherical shots of Dieter Meier’s performance at Zürich Main Station on September 18, 2016.
Dieter Meier: La Boule d’Or Centenaire. Performance at Main Station Zürich (Switzerland), Sept. 18, 2016.
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Dieter Meier, scion of a banking family, was born in Zurich in 1945. After studying law, he tried his hand at writing for the theatre without any success. For a while he earned his living by playing poker.
In the early years of his artistic career Meier, who calls himself an «individual anarchist» and always appears in public with moustache, neckerchief and cigar, attracted attention through unconventional actions.
In 1968 he staged a street theatre in the main entrance of the Zurich branch of the Globus department store.
In 1971 in New York he gave a dollar and a receipt for this amount to every passer-by who said «yes or no» to him.
In 1972, as part of the «Concept Art» programme of documenta 5 in Kassel, he had a metal plaque set in concrete at the main railway station in Kassel which read: «On 23 March 1994 Dieter Meier will stand on this plaque from 3 to 4 pm», which he did.
At the end of the 1970s he met Boris Blank and achieved worldwide fame as the singer in the band Yello.
Dieter Meier is president of the Association des Maitres de Rien (Association of the Masters of Nothingness), a gathering of artists devoted to the realisation of insignificance.
On his ranch, Ojo de Agua (Water Eye), in Argentina he grows organic vegetables and produces red wine, designs watches and breeds cattle. In Zurich he runs a little shop with the same name in which he sells wine, meat, corn, soya products and vegetables. His operation now employs 20 people.