Los Angeles artist sells shadows of sculptures by Koons and Brancusi at a sliver of the price

Ana Prvacki finds a more “sustainable and minimal” form of appropriation art

If all art is theft, Ana Prvacki’s Stealing Shadows is a crime on multiple counts. For the series, which runs 16 January to 3 February at 1301PE, the Yugoslavia-born, Los Angeles-based artist is displaying shadows of famous sculptures—minus the works themselves—on gallery walls and floors as her own wry take on image production.

The shadows, ranging from the instantly recognisable to the uncannily familiar, belong to Louise Bourgeois’s Spider, Constantin Brancusi’s Endless Column, Marcel Duchamp’s Bicycle Wheel, Giacometti’s Walking Man, Michelangelo’s David, Jeff Koons’ Rabbit and Sarah Lucas’s Bunny gets Snookered.

Some will be projections while the Koons shadow might be made out of felt.  “I’m still experimenting with materials,” the artist said by phone this week during a break from installation.

Prvacki was drawn to shadows because they “are poetic and perform the aura of the sculpture in a certain way”, she said. Plus, they offer “an extremely sustainable and minimal” alternative to other forms of appropriation art.

The idea is for each shadow in the gallery to cost 1% of the price achieved by the original work of art at auction. The shadow of Duchamp’s celebrated bicycle wheel for example would come in at $16,000, because the readymade sold for $1.6m at Phillips in 2002, while Louise Bourgeois’s Spider shadow would be priced at $281,650 because it sold for a hundred times that at Christie’s in 2015.

Prvacki has described such a pricing plan in her current ICA Singapore show, Finding Comfort in an Uncomfortable Imagination, which in a Duchampian move is essentially exhibition catalogue pages displayed on the walls, a sort of inventory of ideas.

But with Stealing Shadows in a commercial gallery context, Prvacki is getting some pushback from collectors. While grateful for the lack of shipping charges, the artist said, they have suggested that the price should be lower, say 0.1%.

She prefers the to keep the decimal point where it is: “Even though it’s a very simple idea, I think it’s a valuable one.”

“Ideas are extremely valuable,” she added. “And making thinner things should have more value than making huge things.  If you can get something to be super thin and really poetic, that should be really valuable. We have to stop thinking in a Costco way.”