何伟 He Wei / Anna Hofbauer / Katrin Reinfurt MPMP / Laibach / 王光乐 Wang Guangle / 肖文杰 Xiao Wenjie / 张新军 Zhang Xin Jun / 翟倞 Zhai Liang / Bianca Regl
While da Vinci attributed art’s beauty to her singularity, Michelangelo occupied himself with faking antique cupid sculpture with acidic earth; A much celebrated show at Musee Cernuschi came to an awkward end when it was uncovered that the paintings were forgeries done by Zhang Daqian, and the ingenious Dutch art forger Han van Meegeren’s forgeries were instantly deemed worthless once found as such.
Clearly, the perceived value of a work of art is sewn into its originality, which is knitted together closely with the concept of truth. Byung-Chul Han writes blatantly: “Truth is a cultural technique, through exclusion and transcendence working against change.” So let us play with this “lie”, because hints at great moments in the “oh so shameful” or “oh so shabby” corners of mere copying are amply found, such as Tom Keating comparing the act of forging Renoirs to love.
Like one’s older siblings’ hand-me-downs, the concept of an artist’s inspiration can lose its sparkle when passed to the next holder. It may be the first of contemporary art world’s ten commandments: be original! Though, since imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, smartly borrowing is encouraged. Picasso once said, “Good artists copy, great artists steal.” In this exhibition, we will playfully sway between the lines of mere direct copying and artful stealing.