ReGenesis is a series of found "action shots" of the artistic reproduction of works found in the Hermitage in Saint Petersburg, one of the oldest and largest collections of fine art in the world. Today, for $3800, an exact replica of any one of the paintings in the collection can be painted—sans an artist's signature—by a team of anonymous artists.
Exploring the material production of "great art" and re-creation, the move from auratic original to assembly-line replica raises questions of originality, authenticity, and thecommodification of art. Rather than championing the whole, finished painting, ReGenesis is a series of pedestrian details, complete with the artist’s working hand. As such, it draws our attention to both the means and the medium, thus re-contextualizing the both original “message” and the economic values we attribute to “masterpieces.” By replacing the mythological (and male) “master’s hand” with the (primarily female) hands of the anonymous art-workers making copies-for-sale (that otherwise would be considered forgeries), we see the ways in which the Western art canon is upheld by the material labor of detailed mimesis.
Read Canadian Art review here.