The warm summer days of 2023 are passing. Several exhibitions are running, several exhibitions are planned and in preparation. ARTSURPRISE is a constant companion, in the exhibitions, in everyday life.
Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let’s everyone else decide, if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or they hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.Andy Warhol, Artist
Whoever pulls one of the boxes out of a vending machine or buys them in a set from Saatchi does not automatically look behind the scenes. There are hours of preparation and follow-up that go well beyond the actual production of the art. Some colleagues shy away from this work. But they miss an important moment, the moment of contemplation in monotonous manual activity.
It not only relaxes, it also focuses. He creates a reality in which thoughts form, in a strong current, driven by the tactile sensation of folding this box, folding and readying the printed inserts, inserting the artwork, adding the business cards, locking the boxes and the affix labels.
There are days with 500 boxes.
What is noticed first is the mountain of work. Folding boxes is an easy, often very poorly paid, home job. Humans have often been, and still are, exploited in such menial activities. In some months there are around 1000 boxes, in others just a few. It’s probably averaged about 200 a month… for the past 12 years… every month.
The haptic experience in the work of wrapping is, so to speak, the creation of a commitment to the project, to the artist, to the work of art, to the circumstances of its creation. Something digs deep into the memory, often supported by the smell of fresh paint or the smell of olive wood.
It will certainly be a privilege to unpack these works of art later. It is certainly a joy when an expectation meets a real object, when art is discovered, when an accompanying text then creates a connection between the new owner and the maker of this work.
But it is also a privilege to pack these works of art. You’re the last person to see them all lying together as a series on a table, you’re the last person to pick them up, often for a long time. One is the bearer of the artist’s message. And it is only through this achievement that the magical moment of this art becomes possible.
In the assemblage, art celebrates the fact that the composition of the objects is often more than their sum. Sometimes that final moment before sealing is captured in a few photographs.
The Artsurprise boxes now go to over 100 locations: vending machine locations, museum shops, galleries. Some artists also sell their own art via the boxes directly at their exhibitions and fairs.
The box filled together on the packing table, so this is also the last moment of being together. How likely is it that a later collector will be able to put all the boxes in a series back together? What effort will this represent? How expensive will the last missing box be? At the moment at the packing table it’s all still speculation, but it’s also clear how the art market works. As always, it’s a matter of time.
The box has to be in the right place at the right time, in the hands of the person who temporarily holds one of the central positions in the art market. From then on there is no holding back. Now nothing is more difficult for many contemporary artists than to identify this person and then to reach them with their own message. Too many are in the way, too many have already worked out better positions. The path is rocky. And yet, those who work create reality. And reality is non-negotiable.
The ARTSURPRISE project brought together and distributed over 30,000 unique works of art in the first 12 years. It has reached every continent. It has captured art from all sorts of contemporary currents, bringing them all together under one simple, social, sustainable idea. Over 1000 boxes have been stolen over the years, from public museums, from galleries, from warehouses. Nobody knows what happened to this art. They are probably waiting for the right time to bring them back to the art market. Yet it is not so far. But the clock is ticking.
In August 2023, box number 31,000 will be packed and shipped. With this box, the scope of the site will grow and new features will be added, especially those that will make it easier for collectors to safely assemble their own collection. These art lovers will then very carefully open the boxes and bring the works of art back into the light of day. And that closes a circle that begins at a packing table in CASAdelDRAGON in eastern Spain. And a new circle begins that public life of the work of art as an expression of a way of life and an expression of an appreciation for contemporary art.