The Price as an Artistic Challenge
By kmentemt on October 9, 2012
Each visual artist dealing with art prints, must – apart from any limitations of the printing process – also deal with two fundamental questions:
1. How large should the edition be? The answer here could be an edition of 100 prints for instance.
2. Moreover each print of the edition has to be numbered carefully, like 1/100, 2/100 and finally 100/100.
When an artist decides on the size and the numbering of his edition, this basically determines the prints’ price. This is because regarding the price it makes a huge difference whether there are going to be 100 or 10,000 copies, and it will also make a difference in price if an individual print has a low number such as 6/100 or a high one such as 87/100 or 9,354/10,000.
Often artists do not answer these questions as an artist but from a business perspective, finally these are questions about image and marketing: How do I position this print in my previous work, my oeuvre? Do I want to produce for an exclusive group or do I want to position my prints on the mass market? How many prints can I sell on the market at which price? What price per square centimeter have I reached so far and shall I stick to it in terms of my prints too?
Furthermore, the gallery plays a major role in determining the number and thus the expected price. Ultimately, however, the market price is determined by supply (= size of the edition) and demand.
For us, this market-based approach became unsatisfactory, especially since the edition and its number are part of the artwork, often individually signed and guaranteed by the artist. We – perhaps traditionally – believe that every element of the art work shall be argued artistically and not within conventional market terms.
We therefore quite intensively engaged with the process of determining both the
number of the respective issue and the price and wondered whether it would be possible to not only define a price (-range) by the edition, but to set a very specific price? To what extent can an artist affect the price – especially in the field of art prints? How to bring about a paradigm shift from the price as an element outside, the external act of creating the art to something inherent, part of the process of the work of art itself?
The bottom line: can the price be justified solely artistically, regardless of the market?
We came to a conclusion by including a third element, which can be found next to the item number and price – the date. We created something that is powerful enough to avoid being co-opted by the market, something that can sustainably hold its own in the market through its “artistic” price.
Therefore we use what is called the “quantum entanglement”. Instead of the price being the result of the market’s demand and supply, we entangled date, number and value – as in physics, creating a quantum entanglement. When one of these elements is measured, the state of the other two changes instantaneously.
For example, if we want to create the next art print, which is the next number, we have to do this on the following day, because that’s the imposed artistic rule: If you change one element like by adding one to the number, one day is added to the date and one to the value – in currency ten cent – instantaneously.
In other words: the art work itself determines the financial value and not the artist, the gallery or the ups and downs of the art market.
The interesting point – for you as an owner then – is, although the price is “created” in a quite unusual way, the outcome is marketable and sellable like any other artwork or commodity.
What might be new is the price and the pricing became an important and essential experience of the art, part of the aesthetic experience!
P.S.: Please visit us at our booth 171 at the Contemporary Art Fair in New York City – Jacob Javits Center Oct. 19•20•21 2012 if you want to get some more explanation in real life