Arteconomy: provocation between art and economy

The Arteconomy project, born as a provocation in 2016 at the Five Gallery in Lugano, and conceived by the founder Igor Rucci, aims to highlight the imbalance that occurs between art and the economy. The theoretical framework of the project is based on the belief that the financial component has obtained excessive relevance in the art world.

Through a conscious and provocative use of the tools of the real economy, Arteconomy betrays the rules of this system, based on many shadows and few certainties and invents new ones. It removes the artist and replaces him/her with economic processes that highlight the now dominant role of the market in the world of art.

The project is in fact based on the certainty of the price of the work, determined on the basis of a purely mathematical criterion. The protagonist is the Continuity series of paintings, numbered and without author, whose value increases with the sale of each work and which allows the collector to participate in the economic return of the project. The novelty is that each work is given a base price, following the rules and values ​​of the economic world.

All the works have a monetary value, linked to the emotion that each person feels in being able to buy a work of art. In fact, each emotion has been transformed into a cash equivalent, following the “incremental emotion” scale of values, which links a growing price to each work. The idea had a great success: the listing of work no. 1 was equal to 500 Frs, 38 were sold and the price of the work no. 39 now on sale is 4’300 Frs (No. 40 will cost 4’400 Frs and so on). In addition, to re-evaluate the social role of art, for each work sold, the gallery donates 100 Frs to small non-profit organizations, with specific and concrete objectives.

The project promotes the concept of emotional sharing, which refers to the world of economics from a business perspective. For these reasons, 10% of the price of a sale of the works of the Continuity series is destined to all previous collectors, since it means that they have all had the same emotion buying the work and it is fair that they share among themselves the success of this choice. So the price is transparent and everyone knows that whoever bought the no. 14 paid 1,800 francs. Because it is a staircase and above all there is the collector’s name and surname and why he bought the work.

Collectors are an essential part of the work, not only as buyers, but as a community that actively participates in the creation of the work, the only engine that allows the series to advance and the constant growth of its value. Furthermore, for the first time in the world, collectors receive a certain return from a work of art.

Another objective of the movement is to overcome the concept and role of the artist, in a provocative way, using terms and concepts typical of the financial world. To make this imbalance evident, Andrea Del Guercio, professor of Contemporary Art History at the Brera Academy of Fine Arts and artistic director of Five Gallery, states that: “The attribution of artistic value follows in the modern and contemporary season processes and variables no longer stable, as was the case for the ancient heritage, but in constant renewal and amidst frequent contrasts of judgment. The transformations of language, the different techniques and procedures adopted, the contamination between scientific cultures, including the economic one, have conditioned the making of art and aesthetic judgment, involving new professionals; specifically in the state of collecting and more generally in the art market, we are witnessing the involvement of unprecedented actors, active in contexts and times that are not always uniform. Many wonder, worried: who today associates a work with a value? Who makes the quotations, which hang and hang over the artists and their production? We can summarize that the auction houses, experts, curators, merchants, but also the fashions and trends of the star system affect the value of a work “.

«But we also know that sometimes – he concludes – even a watch or a geographical coordinate affects the price. I am talking, to be clear, of the phenomenon whereby the same work can have a different value if struck at 10 am in London or at 10 pm in New York. Different mechanisms and often questionable solutions, while astronomical figures that chase each other make the art business grow. ARTƎCONOMY® is placed within a process of the history of art and its state of use and distribution, whose theoretical structure is based on the certainty of the price of the work, having been determined on the basis of a criterion borrowed from the world of finance, by a system of active rules within the framework of the real economy».

Valeria Fortuna

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