The desire to own has accompanied the human kind for millennia. The audience yearns for novelty. The possibility of making a discovery is a privilege, and its result – insatiable demand. The provenance of an artwork has for centuries been an important factor influencing its value. We all want to know what we are dealing with. Signatures can be perceived as “stamps” both proving the intellectual rights of the artist and soothing the conscience of collectors and experts. Do we trust paintings? Just like the interpretation of an artwork can be ambiguous, the borderline between the original and the copy is often blurred. As observers and “collectors of depictions”, we are afraid of falling for an illusion created by the artist. Because we are accompanied by a fear of ignorance, which is difficult to overcome in many environments, we look for specialist information that seems to protect us against being cheated. The art market is a playground for adults who are driven by the desire to discover. This sphere should be overseen by a patron – an expert, a connoisseur, a person who knows what we are looking at.

Paulina Słomska has graduated in Art History from the University of Gdańsk and in Art Criticism from the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdańsk. She has also finished a marketing school and the course “Modern Art & Ideas”, which was run by the MoMA. She has just begun her research on sociology of art within the doctoral programme of sociology at the University of Gdańsk. For many years she has written and lectured about art. Since 2014, as the founder of the Sopot-based 16deko agency, she has been supporting and promoting young artists as well as organising exhibitions and workshops in the region.