From Rags to Riches; Art Everywhere for Everyone
Embracing the bureaucratic and neoliberal processes involved in any art deal, From Rags to Riches gives us the opportunity (if we want to take it) to enter into a moral paradox of appropriating the means and devices to forge any artwork. The irony only grows as the artwork in question is Jon Gould, by celebrated and profitable pop – artist Andy Warhol –– an artist characterized precisely by a lack in originality and authenticity through his mass-produce images in the Factory during his Silver Era.
Marek Wolfryd’s solo show at Chalton Gallery proposes five instructions through five artworks, evidentiary in the necessary steps of counterfeiting art within the secondary market. Spanning from drawing, prints, video, conceptual and readymades, all five works have been named after commonly used terms characteristic to art world secondary market deals: Attributed, Certified, Framed, Provenance and Terms & Conditions.
How to forge an artwork:
Attribute (or find the right styles)
Certify (or borrow expertise)
Frame (or an epoch-according packing)
Provide (or a convincing back story)
Terms & conditions (or play by the rules)
The exhibition makes visible the required steps needed to circulate art through an international and contemporary market, from proving the work’s authenticity to obtaining all the right “stamps of approval” from various experts and institutions. Each iteration acts as a fetish –– an object with an imposed and exacerbated value –– but in its illuminated and privileged status, shows the way in which artworks circulates, generates revenue, creates symbolic/economic value and validates speculation.
The process bears witness to how the art market protects itself from fraulent resale, but ironically also how easy it can be to toy with the idea of authenticity and originality while simultaneously providing the tools to diminish its premeditated condition of uniqueness. By placing us at both poles, we become the ones who produce and the ones who consume (sell/buy/forge) said artworks.
In the end, Wolfryd leaves us with the decision to prosecute this venture as either acts of personal indulgence, cultural sabotage, anti-market performativity, own ruling, or a rags to riches story.