Friday, September 22, 2023

Can an Artist Authenticate Forgeries Attributed to them?

Following a year-long investigation, police experts deemed thirteen of artist Lee Ufan’s works forgeries, yet Ufan disagrees with this assessment. Despite confession from art dealer Hyeon, Ufan maintains, after analyzing the works himself, the pieces are authentic stating “I concluded that there is not anything strange with a single piece… the use of breath, rhythm and color were all my techniques… an artist can recognize his own piece at a glance.” The National Forensic Service and Seoul Metropolitan Police analyzed the works, deemed them counterfeit copies and indicted Hyeon. Hyeon took part in selling the works, one of which sold for close to a half million dollars.

It is not unusual for an artist to never touch their own works, to employ factories and apprentices for the physical labor of art-making, offering only conceptual instruction. The Ufan controversy begs the question: can an artist authenticate a work they had no part in any aspect of the creative process?



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