Palimpsest (Believe in me), 2007
Arches cover rag, frame, graphite.
How do we value art? As collectors, societies, consumers, students, and even as the creators ourselves, how is it that we translate what value we find in works of art into exchange terms? Working in the fields of fine art exhibition, sales, and handling for many years has kept me perpetually questioning this issue.
In the fine art market, Salvador Dali is notorious for having signed editions of unprinted paper that went to contracted publishers. These individuals, along with Dali’s own staff, often used these sheets in fraudulent ways. This process was aided by the distant working relationship with the artist that developed out of an over-commodification of fine art during Dali’s lifetime. The range of dishonesty is dependent on what one would consider an original work or reproduction by an artist. Some experts estimate that in today’s art market the vast majority of the prints attributed to and purportedly (or even actually) signed by Dali, are fakes.
Palimpsest’s title invited one to work with the artists on a pre-approved collaboration. It consisted of an edition of one hundred sheets of Arches Cover rag paper; signed and numbered, but otherwise blank. Its signature and low price offered a rock-bottom investment opportunity for those who feel the artist's work had upward potential. Finally, the sheets could be seen simply as purely raw materials for artists to use, with the only hurdle being the moral issue of whether one has the right to exploit another person's artwork as the raw materials for their own creation.
The individual sheets were available on a sliding scale that attempted to act as a gauge of the public’s perception of the art/artist's value. The sliding scale started at 75% of local market price and went up at the purchaser’s discretion. Framed versions were available on the same basis of valuation.