Fake, Forgery and Fraud, all F words, deeply concern the present art world that prides on originality and authenticity. Which is flooded with copies of other artists, made by those who failed to survive on their creations; and sought a career out of replicating canvases which bear the name and resemblance of well known, well established and well respected names in the world of art, particularly the art market.
To forge an object is not limited to the realm of art only as valuable documents, currency notes, designers’ clothes and fashion accessories are prepared which imitate the originals. But to produce a likeness without an exact original is different from reproducing an already existing item. The former deceives a viewer yet also deals with imagining a new visual (in the style of an artist) while the latter, clearly a criminal act, is purely based upon showing one’s craft and skill in emulating a previous example.
Besides the ethical issues, copies have been made and sold since centuries, and collectors bought these – often paying the price of original. However in our age of mechanical reproduction and the environment of virtual experience, the notions of fake and forgery have gone through certain modification. If a work of art is created using a digital medium on an Internet site, it can be reproduced in numerous numbers, hence diminishing boundaries between original and a copy. In fact today’s practices remind of a basic concept: it is the idea that bestows the status of originality and authenticity rather than the physical fabrication.
The present age liberated everyone from the burden of originality, yet for many it is still important to differentiate real from reproduction. The current issue of Art Now Pakistan addresses the theme of forgery while presenting multiple views and points of view on this question, both in essays and through the photo-essay. It also includes profiles and interviews of two personalities, who are recognized for their original voices in the contemporary art of Pakistan. Reviews of exhibitions, from Pakistan and other parts of the world help towards understanding current art practices, which exist beyond the contention of original and fake. Book review of Akbar Naqvi’s monograph on Shahid Rassam investigates the question and quest for individual and independent vocabulary, since the subject of the book, has produced works in multiple styles.
Once during a party a painter from Karachi after many glasses started to confess about his life and work. Sharing his frustration with a fellow artist, he admitted: No one buys my work. Everybody is collecting Allah Bux, A. R. Chughtai and Sadequain, not knowing that those are also made by me!