At Frieze Art Fair in London, I asked myself why galleries put signs next to a piece of art.
Well, a rational answer would be to tell the observer its title and at art fairs, most importantly, its price.Yet, does a good piece of art not have to be self-explanatory? Ideally, this should be the case. In reality, however, in the light of abstract art this will not always be the case.
At Frieze, when I wanted to know whether a medicine cabinet was by Damien Hirst or by one of the many wannabe-the-next-Damien Hirst artists, I asked Jona Lueddeckens, a sales person at the box of the Gagosian Gallery, why the titles next to the artworks were missing.
At first, Lueddeckens started laughing and then replied that I am not the first person asking that question. “The idea behind it is to encourage dialog between the beholder and the gallery.”
I advocate the approach of the Gagosian Gallery, as fine art is a cultural good and should be discussed to analyze the idea lying behind it within society, as it is inter alia responsible for its origin. Since I doubt that a title will add much to the understanding of it, as more than a gaze may be needed understand to idea behind the art work. A title by itself does not necessarily give any information about its nature, because it could have a symbolistic meaning which will only lead to more bafflement of the beholder.
In consideration of the fact, that the internet and social media has been reducing the number of face-to-face dialogs, I hope that not only galleries – but also other institutions will emphasize on the importance of the old-established personal way of communication in the closer future.