F For Fake

But is it ART?

In his free-form documentary F for Fake, Orson Welles, through interview, speculation and illusion, states that art itself can in no circumstance be purely “genuine” in the traditional sense, and that truth, by nature, is relative, and, in many instances, irrelevant.

The art world, and art itself, as Orson Welles presents it, is by no means genuine. In the modern age, the quality of art, as driven by the art market, depends not on aesthetics and beauty, but the recognition of the artist and the prestige of the work. In short, the value of a piece determines its quality. So-called “experts” in the field of art determine whether or not a piece is genuine, and with the “wave of a hand,” a foolish expert can price a forgery well above its “correct” worth. Such circumstances have brought about the existence of men such as Elmyr de Hory, the art forger nestled away on the sleepy island of Ibiza. He makes his living imitating and plagiarizing works of others, and infiltrates the art market with his own forgeries. Though validated by the “experts” controlling the museums and art markets, several forgeries crafted by Elmyr find their way into prestigious collections and public art galleries. The presence of such “fakes”, as Welles likes...

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