I COPY THEREFORE I AM
15 JULY - 12 AUGUST 2021
"When an image is reproduced by hand, there is inherently some interpretation by the second artist. Any reproduction - no matter how precise - introduces a change. The “copy” exists in a different space, is made from different molecules, and is younger than the original." - Eric Doeringer
Eric Doeringer sold his first Bootleg paintings in 2001 on the sidewalks outside of galleries in New York. Their small size made them easy to carry around and kept the cost of materials low, and selling them outside of Gagosian, Zwirner or Art Basel added elements of performance and art installation to his practice.
What had started as an artistic approach modelled on the handbag street vendors of New York evolved into a more complete artistic exploration and questioning of the historic roles of ownership, authenticity, and originality within the art industry. In 2019 Doeringer also copied Christie’s entire Spring auction in New York and coincided his exhibition of art facsimiles to open at the same time as Christie’s actual auction.
The Bootlegs also tie into the rise of the internet and digital culture, where the opportunities to share and copy images, music, and movies are easily accessible to anyone. In Doeringer’s hands the distance between a mass-produced copy and a handmade object is dramatically shortened and the desires that move us to buy an artwork are laid bare. Many of Doeringer’s artworks incorporate collaged prints, and the small canvas format creates its own form of anti-hierachy in regards to the varied sizes of the originals that they copy. The flat rate price of $1000 for any art work makes the interaction more about the collector’s personal interest in an individual piece than about the market itself.
It is important to underscore that the Bootlegs are not fakes, they are sold under Doeringer’s name and are as honest about their inspiration as their materials; if anything they are homages to art in general. After all, the “copies” that Doeringer creates exists in a different space, are made from different molecules, and are younger than the originals. It doesn’t matter whether you can tell the difference between a Doeringer and a Warhol or a Bidlo and a Pollock hanging on a wall - they are not the “same” paintings. They were made for different reasons. They have different meanings. Richard Pettibone, Elaine Sturtevant, Deborah Kass, Jonathan Monk, and Doeringer each paint a “Warhol” differently.
For this exhibition, Doeringer has added a new Bootleg painting to his repertoire based on Danish Superflex’s “I Copy Therefore I Am”, and for obvious reasons decided to title the exhibition after it. This new piece is shown along with a greatest hits of works from the Bootleg series making possible for everyone to find something to fall in love with.