The People’s Republic of China has the second largest economy in the world after the United States with a GDP of nearly $7 trillion (2010). The government’s focus on foreign trade for economic growth has demonstrated the ability to conquer one export market after another by what has been coined ‘The China Price’, which allows manufactures to significantly undercut prices offered by its foreign competitors. Today, as a result of the China Price, China produces more than 70% of the world’s DVD’s and toys and has established dominant market positions in nearly all other market segments.
This has also given rise to a number of forgeries from western countries and China is now also the highest producer of plagiarism, an elaborate, government-sanctioned system of counterfeiting and piracy which plays a vital part in the success story of Chinas economy.
How do you show the ugly side of Chinese counterfeit culture in an art context?
Beat them at their own game!
The Story: On the 28th of March 2008 I contacted a suspected counterfeit factory in Dafen (China) posing as a gallery owner and enquired if they could produce an replicate of Andy Warhol’s famous ‘Dollar Sign’ screen print. Due to a recent demand for Chinese themed art I asked for a slight modification to the original design, namely to replace the dollar sign with the Chinese currency symbol. No other instructions were given. This is what they came up with…
Hardcover Book (documenting the email exchange), 2 x Oil Canvases each measuring 228.6 x 177.8cm