When French artist Marcel Duchamp painted a mustache on Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa how could he have known that his questions of originality and the art establishment would still be unresolved 80 years later. These five New Zealand artists add an additional twist to the rationale which inspired his work.
Originality, reproduction and the institutions of art concern the five artists - Monique Jansen, Monique Redmond, Peter Shand, Toby Twiss, and Marcus Williams - in their work The Genuine Article.
The format used by each of the artists asks questions about the marginalisation of certain processes in art, investing them with an artistic status and therefore financial value. Objects which are ‘one-off’ and done by the artist’s hand have always been seen by the market to be more valuable because of their perceived rarity. For example, the painting has more ‘investment’ value than the print. This is the hierarchy of perceived originality. The artists in The Genuine Article look at the privilege the market creates to reinforce price. In this exhibition the artists use techniques of casting, printing, embroidering and enlarging to explore these notions. All of the works share the ‘master’ ... the mould, the template, the pattern or the negative.
For the strict post-modernist, concepts of originality or authenticity are irrelevant; from this point of view there can be no originality, only parody, allegory, pastiche and subversion through appropriation. Much has been said on these ideas. A great deal of art has been produced which illustrates and reiterates the point. With The Genuine Article the artists will make an exhibition which allows each artist to respond to the parameters of originality and authenticity. Each of their works looks as if it was made with the technology of reproduction, one of many, when in actual fact it is a one off.
→ Headlines, Howick & Pakuranga Times, 26-06-1997
→ The Genuine Article, 1997, exhibition card