“With more and more domestic private investment
bursting into house industry, many abroad house brands also marches
[sic] into China's market,” - CITO (Casanuova’s parent
On a trip to Beijing, I somehow wound up at its only modern Italian
furniture showroom on the outskirts of town. It was called Casanuova.
Is this what the mushrooming middle-class of the People’s Republic
of China really wanted – an Alessi credenza? Naturally it made
me think of desire. Why do we want it, why is it valuable, and more
broadly, how is value generated? Value is indisputably increased when
the item is seen as rare or unique. But what about when the original
is not unique, and the copy is more rare than the original?
At Casanuova I made near-abstract digital images of the materials used
to make the showroom items – porcelain, leather, veneer, metal.
From New York I sent the images back to a village in China, where they
painted them for me in a photo-realistic manner. After all, China’s
economy is partly built on its mastery of the knock-off. Now the painting
becomes the copy and the digital image the original. I prefer the painting.
6 in the series
Edition of 3
40x30", oil on synthetic polymer