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The Reality of the Fake

by Anne Quito (2207 words)

Modern technology and the commercialisation of art raise difficult questions. If someone takes a professional picture of a painting, who is the artist and whose is the art? And what if someone makes a professional painting of a photograph?

Six small paintings in Udine, Italy were intended to raise some big questions. Inspired in part by the way that typical stock photos grossly misrepresent artists and the artistic process, IOCOSE searched the archive of the well-known licensing agency Getty Images for pictures matching the keyword ‘artist’, and downloaded six thumbnails, complete with their serial numbers and watermarks. The group then sought painters to recreate the thumbnails as oil paintings. They turned to Dafen Artist Village, a suburb of the coastal city of Shenzhen, China, widely known as the largest supplier of hand-painted canvases in the world, where a freshly painted Van Gogh can be had for as little as €26.

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