Fake for real

Copies are inferior. Or not? Talking about the word copy is acknowledging the contradistinction between fake and real. In this polarity; real is desireable, while fake is not.

Today I watched a documentary about this topic. The most prominent talking head in this documentary was the philosopher Koert van Mensvoort. He promotes a less rigid division between fake and real. According to him, worshipping ‘the Real’ is a religious attitude, because the real can’t be reached.

The documentary reminded me of a book I recently read: Duel. This book was written by Joost Zwagerman; a Dutch writer who has written several books on art. The story in the book was about a fictional artist, called Emma Duiker. She’s an expert in copying paintings. Her paintings are the result of a very careful study of famous paintings. Therefore her paintings look very much alike the originals. The first issue of the book arises here: can a copy be art?

But the book introduced a second issue. For Emma Duiker swiped a very expensive original painting: no.18 of Mark Rothko. Her intention was to return it to the museum, after she exposed the painting to ‘normal’ people all over the world. This was part of an art project. Emma Duiker wanted art to be within reach of all kinds of people. She figured that art is too beautiful, too precious and too enriching to lock it away from the big crowd. People can be positively influenced by experiencing art. She wanted to give the experience of real art back to the people.

At first sight this idea is opposing the idea presented in the documentary. James Quo-Ping Lin of the National Palace Museum in Taipei, Taiwan believes that artifacts are better be kept in the safe. Arts can be better preserved when they’re safe in a vault, and people can observe the art way better by means of digital copying. Quite opposing ideas right?

Still, James Lin had good intentions with this idea, intentions which resemble Emma Duiker’s. James Lin wants the world to enjoy art in a cheap, quick and easy way by distributing digital copies of art. This could be the future of art, but do we want this to be the future of art? Is it still art if it is cheap, quick and easy? Or am I spoiled, for living in the Netherlands, and therefore being able to observe real art on a daily basis, if I desire to do so.

I too wish all kinds of people were able to experience art, and if the only way to experience art, for people in Taiwan, is by means of digital copies,.. maybe it’s for the best,..

If you want to put your own ideas about fake and real to the test: you can play a very interesting game here: http://www.fakeforreal.com. Enjoy!

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s