How does art relate to knowledge
Question from the layman to the artist about his art: Can you make a living from it? Under the current circumstances, some people find it even more difficult to answer than usual. Not so Manuel Strauss. Grafinger, who recently created a futuristic component in the Ebersberger Kunstverein's "Action Room 2" with sculptures from the 3D printer, has often heard the question, answered "Yes" and often said "Really now?" harvested. Which is related to a way of thinking and proceeding that you don't necessarily get taught at the art academy. Strauss, himself a graduate of the Munich Academy of Fine Arts and once a master student at Axel Kasseböhmer, behaves like a classic merchant when it comes to pricing his products: "Better to sell 100 pieces for 30 euros than dust one for 3000 euros a day as a store keeper." An attitude that, he frankly admits, is "disreputable" in large circles in the art world. Artists who publicly think about the profitability of their work would like to use the label "commerce", he says. The respected attitude is to prefer to earn a living by driving a taxi or other sideline jobs "or gnawing at the hunger cloth" than to sell works of art at a low price.
So Strauss' argumentation moves well beyond pure doctrine. He chooses his examples cautiously, but with full conviction: "The pastry chef who bakes a wonderful cake or the car mechanic who does a perfect repair: As I understand it, they are artists." The love for the material, the care in the execution, for Strauss they belong to the painter or sculptor as well as to the craftsman. Which is why he takes it for granted to refer to the buyers of the respective products as "customers". In Action Room 2, he not only irritated some visitors with the electric hum of his 3D printer, but even more with his "customer survey". He had to experience quite a bit of rejection, in one case he even found vulgar insults on the questionnaire distributed. But, at least, 20 art-loving people took on his curiosity and gave answers to questions such as "Can you feel harassed by an artistic opinion?", "Does art have a minimum price?" or "How much should a bad artist make?"
In an interview, he confesses to the Grafingen artist that the knowledge he has collected is not enough for a reliable result - and provides the reason at the same time: "There were too many artists among the respondents, too few people from the street. But I need them, from them relevant approaches come because they are immaculate. " Which is why Strauss will soon expand the survey space to Munich as part of an exhibition of his work there.
The Grafinger does not fear that his attempt to empirically penetrate the art buyer's soul could fail. Nonetheless, he worries: "That could also be my artistic death in Munich." After all, the level at which he offers his work is far below the serious-take limit. People are willing to spontaneously spend 32 to 39 euros on a work of art that they can take home with them, says Strauss, a prize he won at charity events or at markets. "But I would have to ask ten times as much, otherwise it is not considered art." In his opinion, this is a very elitist attitude that goes against the real meaning of art. "One answer to the customer survey to the question of what art should trigger was: knowledge, experience, edification - and that it moves you. As an artist, I ask myself: Should the work have to work alone or should I be allowed to use the pricing give as many people as possible access to this added value for their lives? "
Gain for life, expansion of personal horizons, inspiration for one's own creativity: what art triggers in the people who perceive it is a value in itself, says Strauss. A value for which the artist would have earned a fee without there being a buyer. Which is why he questions the previous model of galleries and exhibitions that make art public for free. Similar to what retailers are currently considering in competition with online shipping, an entry price is justified, which in turn could be offset against a purchase. "But for that you need low-priced art to give the buyer a sense of achievement," Strauss argues.
He thought it would be a mistake to make an offer at random. "That's why I need a target group analysis, that's why I do a survey" - this is how he identifies the relationship between his art and his customers. Quite a worthwhile investment, says Strauss, because the purchased object is more likely to become an advertising medium for sellers, artists and art, the livelier this relationship is: "People are happy when they can talk to others about their purchase. That creates demand and so my message gets even more public. What more do I want? "
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