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Artists, Fabricators and Art Markets


Wed 26. 8.  16:00 - 17:30
room FA 251

Collateral Authorship and 'Background Artists'


van den Berg, Karen
Zeppelin Universität, Germany

The art field is constantly expanding. This is not only due to the expended notion of art, the rise of creative industries or the growth of the art market. Rather the very scale of artworks is growing as well. For about 30 years, gallery spaces have become bigger and bigger and accordingly been filled with larger art pieces and installations. Within the resulting battle for attention it has become common to focus on 'wow factors' generated by highly complex material surfaces and technically elaborate art works. As a matter of course, most of the large-scale installations cannot be produced by one single artist alone. Consequently we can observe a new manufacturing branch today, art fabricators, who are essential to gallery owners and curators of big exhibition houses. In my presentation I would like to introduce some findings of an interview–based research project on these 'background artists', as we would like to call them. The role of these fabricators, as I will show, is delicate as well as important. Many of these businesses remain almost ‘undercover‘, some even without an online presence. Against this background I will present some insights on how knowledge production takes place and how authorship is configured in the collective working processes necessary to realise large-scale art projects.