Vincent Van Gogh, Wheat field with Crows
European police estimates suggest as much as half the art in circulation on international markets may be forged, a surprisingly large number The Independent says may decline with recent technological advancements. Scientists Joris Dik and Koen Janssens have developed a new technique which uses high intensity x-rays from a particle accelerator to reveal a high level of detail in the under painting. The software also detects “wobbles”, a slight revealing shake of the forgers hand presumably not present in original paintings because they represent the painter’s natural style.
All of this is very interesting of course, and while a few more forgeries may be identified within museums I doubt it will make such a significant dent in the forgery market. After all, John Myatt, a man who is described as the biggest art fraud of the 20th century, confesses he was never a great forger, an assessment backed by the fact that he was eventually caught when he created a Giacometti drawing depicting a female body with a male head. Sure all this happened before this new technology was in place, but the fact of the matter is someone has to suspect a forgery to think to test it. In the case of Myatt, the accompanying faked provenance was good enough that virtually no one thought to do so.
In other news, Eric Engle’s Computer Art in The Former Soviet Block, a paper on the development of computer art in Eastern Europe is worth a look, even if it isn’t the best piece of prose you’ll ever read. Engle sees video art as the precursor to interactive art, and provides economic, historic, and technological background for discussion as well as a number of great illustrations. There’s a fair amount of political context provided, which is particularly useful for people such as myself, who don’t have deep pre-existing knowledge of European history, and a good portion of the paper is devoted to the Yugoslavian art movement of the 1960’s and early 70’s, New Tendencies, and what came after it. Perhaps there is an interested reader who can translate “Bit International” (nos. 1-9/1968-1972), a magazine mentioned in the article without commentary as it is written in Serbo-Croatian. Via: Jorg Colberg.