The exchange of artworks between Peter Lemmens and Kris Van Dessel.
bouwmeesterstraat 3, 2000 Antwerp, Belgium
7 pm - 8 pm / January 11th / 2018
In collaboration with Peter Lemmens.
"An artwork's value is difficult. Often a chaotic, random choice averaging out the material, the size, the labour involved, the market position, the artist’s market position, its position in the oeuvre, its editions, its social capital, …
It’s also a longstanding tradition that artists exchange artworks. Especially when they are relatively unknown. Which might play a part in working out an exchange. What are considerations? What is an artwork's exchange value?
Although exchange value is actually a term described in economic theories, In modern neoclassical economics, exchange value itself is no longer explicitly theorised. The reason is that the concept of money-price is deemed sufficient in order to understand trading processes and markets.
Professor John Eatwell criticizes this approach as follows:
"Since the markets are driven by average opinion about what average opinion will be, an enormous premium is placed on any information or signals that might provide a guide to the swings in average opinion and as to how average opinion will react to changing events. These signals have to be simple and clear-cut. Sophisticated interpretations of the economic data would not provide a clear lead. So the money markets and foreign exchange markets become dominated by simple slogans--larger fiscal deficits lead to higher interest rates, an increased money supply results in higher inflation, public expenditure bad, private expenditure good--even when those slogans are persistently refuted by events. So "the markets" are basically a collection of overexcited young men and women, desperate to make money by guessing what everyone else in the market will do. Many have no more claim to economic rationality than tipsters at the local racetrack and probably rather less specialist knowledge."
So how to avoid a simplistic reading of an artwork and its exchange value and allow the exchange to exchange something that can not be weighed by supply and demand, not be a random price set by physical standards or random averages. How to go beyond financial value or a market with an artist’s exchange? What can be alternative parameters in an exchange?
So I would like to add something to the exchange. A responsibility. Exchange a work that asks a question to it’s owner. Maybe treats the owner more as a stakeholder. Asks what can be done with the work. And to do this, first let’s push the work into the information sector. So the proposed trade is not just trading a physical object, but on top of that the information to reproduce the work, to distribute the work. Although maybe somewhat limited, actually offer some degree of control over the information that is traded. It’s a stakeholdership, asking to act as it’s agent. It’s owning by giving away, sharing, making available, distributing, making searchable, making available. Collecting not as keeping things, but as a way of staying connected. A stakeholder can suppress the abundance of the information, or can facilitate the abundance of information. He can make searchable what has intrinsic unlimited supply, never-ending the demand side.
And as a remark on this think about this: the search is more easily controlled than the copy-paste. It’s a filter of what you can reach. What goes beyond the first page of Google stays beyond the first page.
So to come to a certain minor point: instead of merely exchanging objects, what about exchanging a shared responsibility over an artwork as its stakeholder? And the object can be simply a part of this. And as a stakeholder, the shared question is how to manage the artwork. How to act as its manager? How to place it in a network since you have the extreme means to do so? How to set free something you love?"