Experiment participants: Valentin Blagodov, Adam Globus, Vladislav Stalmahov, Vladimir Tsesler, Andrei Liankevich, Alexander Belski, Sergei Seletski, Sergei Degtiarenok, Masha Khrustaleva, Ruslan Vashkevich, Alexander Sliappo.
An assertion that Belarusian art-market is underdeveloped (or not enough civilized) may seem self-evident to many, however, it could be argued since market relations in the art sphere arose in the Renaissance, played a major role in the history of modernist art, and even Soviet administration did not manage to destroy the union between art and capital.
Art salons, private galleries, and street vernissages specializing in selling art-objects has became an inherent part of urban life, and «an invisible market hand» (Adam Smith) is still orcestrating creative self-expression even of the most independent artists.
However, art was (and still is) a good of a special kind not just because it cannot be bought at the nearest supermarket. Where, how and for how much one can buy a work of art? What is the difference between professional artist and amateur in the market context? What is the relationship between an artwork’s price and artist’s place in History? All these are not idle questions but the main mystery of this exclusive ‘commodity’ is its price formation, and all the agents of an art space (i.e. curators, gallerists, artists, clients) are interested in keeping this mystery. Not only the name of an artist depends on this but also a status of a work of art as a significant object for investment.
By proposing professional artists and theoretics go out to the street (or, in other words, look for the answers for this questions at «Vernisage») the curators wanted to conduct an experiment aiming at unraveling this puzzle. Thus, «Finissage» is the first experience of a field research of the Belarusian art-market designed as a one-day art intervention which main aim is an explication of conditions and processes of turning an art object into commodity.
At the same time the project pursues some additional objectives. Art’s ‘coming out’ of museum space – as well as turning artists into «living people» (viveurs, according to Guy Debord) – has a potential to become a new strategy of looking for new forms of artistic life in the context of art-nomadism.
Another aim is to conceptually rethink «Vernisage» as a space for art that is close to people, a kind of a meeting point, as a place of urban community where the borders between closed social groups are obliterated; in this context «Vernisage» has a potential to turn into a street analogue of an aristocratic Salon, open for everyone, where the public could exchange views on art, and artists could meet their admirers.