Recent news in the art world involves the coming to auction of Picasso’s La Gommeuse created during the artist’s blue period.
Of course there is huge interest in this work and not simply because it is associated with a well-known period in the artist’s life, but because the reverse of the canvas features a secret painting which has never been publicly seen before.
I laughed at this. Not because I can never afford to buy the work, nor because of the articles in global media outlets about the secret work on the other side, but because it was another confirmation of the problem in trying to create an original work of art.
A Discussion about Money
Permanent collection – Norwich University of the Arts.
Whilst an undergraduate at Norwich University of the Arts, I became so frustrated at the seemingly never-ending futility of the task that my desperation resulted in the willful vandalism of works I purchased by other artists living or dead, known or unknown. These paintings are hung so the original work faces the wall like a naughty child. The reverse sometimes provides insights into the artist’s dedication and thoughts as well as the framer’s notes. The secret to my work, until purchased, involves no-one knows who painted the original (the signature often being on the front, which is now the reverse) and no-one can now ascertain the original works’ value.
The only thing visible to the audience is the sale price; clear, transparent and surgically removed via scalpel on the reverse of the original painting.
Gathering the Harvest
A handful of people know what is on the other side of these works (that also include figurative styles), and maybe I have accidentally struck gold through irreversibly destroying a well-known piece of art. Of course some things appear, and are easily mistaken as, gold but only fools bother to seek their fortune through actively searching for it in the face of overwhelming odds.
Found object, oil on canvas
I am one of those fools, but my search for gold continues and does so through the shameless self-promotion of attaching my work to important articles and artworks reported in the world’s press. It’s no good to me or my wife being successful when I’m dead. Cheers!
Self-portrait 1977 – 2012