“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 company)

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


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