FORGERY IS A WIDESPREAD AND PROFITABLE ACTIVITY
THE RECENT CASE OF THE UNAUTHORIZED COPIES OF THE MAESTRO’S HISTORIC WORKS
After all, also van Gogh paid for it. Just a few months ago, the news came in that dozens of drawers cranked out van Gogh paintings in Shenzhen, China; they lived all together in a small room and worked exhausting shifts. Therefore, Alberto Biasi can boast at least one illustrious precedent. The artist from Padua, who is one of the main exponents of Optical and Kinetic Art in the world, is also famous for being one of the founders of historic Gruppo N in the ’60s. Of course he was flabbergasted when he found some forgeries of one of his works dating from the 1965-1980 period in a store of the multinational Maison du Monde. Thereafter, he found out that it was all part of a vast circulation of forged works of art that were made in series and then put on the market. Immediate denunciation led to an order of seizure for all the warehouses of the multinational in Italy.
Unfortunately, this is far from being an isolated incident. In this case, too, the root of the problem is to be found in China: together with tomato puree, watches, T-shirts, and bags, also works of art end up in the mincer of forgery. Biasi discovered that the people who chose which works to imitate worked in Asia, for the purchasing office of Maison du Monde; that the manufacturer of the forgeries was a Chinese based in China; and that only the legal representative of the Maison was French. And since forgery, too, is a globalized phenomenon, a friend of Biasi’s from Chile has recently told him that the similar deception is being used in Santiago, also sending him a Whatsapp video in which an ironic inscription accompanies his portrait: “ere un maestro de maetros, artista de Cina!”. Independently from this specific episode, this is clearly a wider issue: the market of forgeries is unrestrained by now and it is very difficult to safeguard artists effectively, also because of a legislative void that persists in spite of all the commendable efforts of the art and antiques unit of the Carabinieri. A gap that must be filled.