The artist Ana Prvački has imagined the shadows of some of the world’s most famous (and expensive) artworks. Staged at 1301PE, Los Angeles, 'Stealing Shadows' is both a comment on the position of physical production in contemporary art practice and its 'preoccupation with ephemera and mischievous urges', and a critique of the commercial engine of culture. 'Shadows are in the spirit of the moon, they change depending on time of day and the season – just like the art market,' Prvački notes.
Prvački – known for her performance work on consumer aesthetics, gestures and etiquette – has been mulling over the idea since 2007. It comes to fruition following a publication that the artist released last year with the ICA Singapore, a catalogue of her ‘uncomfortable imagination’. In order for the exhibit to work in reality, all of the pieces Prvački selected had to be inscribed on the collective cultural conscience – so that they could be recognised in flat format. This process of eking out iconic contemporary works is revealing in itself, but Prvački is also asking the viewer to contemplate very directly how value is attributed to art, pricing her stolen shadow works in relation to the original. 'Stealing shadows of famous masterpieces and selling them at one per cent of their auction price is both tactical and economical. I think it is a timely project and audiences are really ready to talk about the economy of the art market, the one per cent, the value of art and ideas.'
But can you get your hands on a stolen shadow? The artist explains that she can custom design them to fit any space, and in a variety of formats that range from digital projection, painting or graffiti, or as an animated shadow that moves through a space as an umbra, penumbra or antumbra. 'There is something very poetic and elegant about shadows – I think the subtle yet very graphic nature of shadows appeals to our psyche. There has been great dialogue with artists, collectors, dealers, and copyright lawyers at the exhibition!'