Galerie Christian Hosp is proud to present Fair Trade, a new installation by Leila Pazooki.
Fair Trade sees internationally-acclaimed artist Leila Pazooki embark upon a far-reaching work, which highlights issues of globalization, the role of museums in contemporary society, the relationship and tensions between mass-market economics, artistic authenticity and the fluctuating currents between these myriad factors.
Through a dynamic installation and series of paintings, the project addresses a theoretical relationship between the rarified world of valuable artwork museum collections to the culture of cheap mass-production that has proliferated in recent decades, especially within emerging economies in the East. Like fake watches, shoes and bags, artworks can be replicated for tiny fractions of their market value, forcing us to assess the relative values of a work and its intrinsic aura of uniqueness and quality.
By replicating, to the smallest details, Room 17A at London´s National Gallery, Pazooki matches the original, Renaissance-era works in the room with identical copies, fabricated in the village of Dafen, China. On a recent trip to the village, which is entirely comprised of workshops, turning out reproductions, she discovered that museum-quality works are available, for the right price. Yet, the rapid, assembly line approach to fabricating reproductions brings into question the intrinsic essence and mystery of an artwork, the price paid in relation to the emotion reproduced. This notion, with the myriad related issues it throws up, is at the heart of Fair Trade.
Workers in a tiny, cramped studio, making impeccable copies of a painting they have never seen, hanging on the wall of an institution they have never visited, nevertheless, proudly describe their works as „museum-quality“. Impressed by the diligence and industriousness of the painters, craftsmen as far removed from Western Bohemian stereotypes of painters as is possible, Pazooki organized a prize competition, in which 100 Dafen craftsmen replicated a set painting whithin six hours. The entries are featured in Fair Trade in an impressive installation which reflect the diversity and caliber of the assorted workers, to stunning effect.