According to one opinion, money and what we call “the market” exercise complete power over human activities. Art and the cultural product is surely no exception, nor are the producers of these products, the artists. It is true that the market’s mechanisms have prevailed over the production and mediation (through collectors, gallery owners, art critics, etc) of the meaning of art, to such an extent that they partially cancel out artists and art itself. Moreover, works of art are used in a variety of ideological and financial “transactions”, such as money laundering, proof of social service, elevation of social status for politicians, industrialists, mayors, etc, being utilized as a “contract of forgiveness” for their dubious journeys. Thus, the works of art become the means of production for their at will ideological mechanisms, which sculpt a wide spectrum of notions, from the perception of history for the common man to the sense of what art is for school-kids. Often, a work of art is constructed and rises to prominence through various such mechanisms and not through a social journey – the same goes for its meaning. The institutes or art fairs, galleries, collectors, museums, biannuals and auction houses smother and manipulate both art and artists. Active participants in this process, sometimes even protagonists, are the artists themselves. Another opinion suggests that there is no other way, that this is the way things have always been and that the work of art, in some magical way, remains unaffected by this route because it has its own essence that is beyond any mechanism whatsoever. We are obliged to think and act upon these ides, suggesting – through works of art, discussions and literature – ways to challenge or even revoke them, setting in this way our position in this landscape of atrocity.
Dimitris Halatsis, Artist