It’s been a while that this thought has been stuck in my head but since my academic writing lacks both the skill and the bibliography to put it in an acceptable text I shall present it as a rant but since rants have the tendency to turn into manifestos I will keep it short and shallow, as always.
The question is if making editions in art is ethical. WOW! Did I just mention ethics? This is more serious than you thought.
What do I mean with editions?
Well pretty much everything that makes the same point with another work (made by the same artist) qualifies as an edition. Hold on! I know you are already getting upset but let me get it straight.
I don’t only mean limited editions, signed reproductions, prints etc. I mean that since Fontana sliced the first canvas the work was done he should have moved on and throw the rest to the bin. I am not going to go into more examples; this is a rant after all.
I loathe repetition within the work of the same artist and I am no exception I have repeated myself more times than I dare to admit. But the point of this rant is not to point fingers we have all done it and will continue to do it as long as we have to pay rents.
Give free housing to artists and you will break even from the reduction of the rubbish collection costs.
Art is a wasteful business, and making the same art works over and over again might make the few on the top reach but is directly against any ethical code an artist should have.
I mean we should be spearheading the introduction of progressive and challenging ideas into the unwilling society. At least that’s what I thought our job is as artists. So once we have made our point with an artwork reproducing it in different versions that say the same story is unethical as well as pointless. I am going to sound terribly Platonist (and trust me I am NOT) but making the same point over and over again weakens it rather than making it louder.
I really need someone to come and tell me how wrong I am.
Most of the artists whose work I love (and feel jealous of, as it naturally follows) practice this system of reproducing a successful artwork over and over again. No I am not going to list names because I will start to read like a deranged groupie. If there is a point of making 200 versions of the same painting I fail to recognize it and since this is a rant, anything I fail to recognize should burn.
I am ready to make concessions if the concept of the work fails without reproductions but this is a tiny exception amidst the mountains of rubbish we load to this planet .I don’t see why we all want to become producers of rare commodities for rich collectors, why do we all secretly dream to hang our work in a luxurious lobby so people will see it and want one for their lobby.
We should learn to move on, make a point and move on. Art is about changing the world but in subtle way. It should be a slap that feels like a kiss. And both slaps and kisses have a longer aftertaste without repetition.