The Value of Art

interactive installation

© 2010, Christa Sommerer and Laurent Mignonneau


The Value of Art Concept

The Value of Art are interactive paintings dealing with the economy of attention and value creation in the art world. When we look at prices of artworks at auctions, they often seem incomprehensible. Competing art collectors betting against each other can create skyrocketing values for art works. Relevance and attention in terms of art history, social and critical discourse are important components for becoming a desired masterpiece with high monetary value. Artists like Edward Kienholz have even written the supposed value of the art work directly onto the painting and Michael Findlay writes about the connection between the value of art and its social and economical function.

Attention is also the new currency in a media based society and within social platforms. The amount of attention towards an art piece could therefore be directly linked to its monetary value.

The Value of Art is a series of interactive experiments dealing with the value of art in a conceptual and pragmatic way.

We transform existing paintings that we buy at auction houses. We equipped them with sensors that can measure the exact time viewers spend in front of the painting. A small thermal printer is also attached to the frame of the painting. As we know exactly the price we paid for each painting and the amount of money we spent on interface materials, plus the value of our working time for producing this art work, the initial value of the work can be exactly calculated. The initial value including all expenses and costs appear printed out on the paper of the thermal printer at the beginning of the first exhibition.

Once The Value of Art interactive painting is shown, the work will start counting the number of visitors and the amount of time they spend looking at the painting. Through our integrated sensors the painting will constantly update its value, making the whole process of value creation for this artwork totally transparent. Visitors can follow how the value of this artwork increases the more viewers look at the work. At the end of each exhibition The Value of Art will have reached a certain monetary value. The artwork could now be sold for exactly that value, or sent on to the next exhibition to increase its value even further. The more people look at the work, the more valuable it will become.

The Value of Art is a critical reflection on the economy of attention, the relationship between artist, artwork and audience, and the question of monetary and ideological value of the artists and audiences time and dedication.

Press: PDF article

Prev   Next
my images

The Value of Art Exhibitions

2023 DA Fest: Digital Art Festival 2023 Sofia
Featuring our artwork: The Value of Art
Curator: Venelin Shurelov and Galina Dimitrova-Dimova
(National TV show)
- Sofia, Bulgaria

2023 The Artwork as a Living System at iMAL Brussels (from April 14th to Sept 24th 2023)
Retrospective exhibition Christa Sommerer & Laurent Mignonneau
Curators: Karin Ohlenschläger
Featuring "Interactive Plant Growing", "A-Volve", "Phototropy", "Life Writer", "Mobile Feelings II", "Portrait on the Fly", "Haze Express", "Eau de Jardin", "People on the Fly", "Fly Plotter Portraits", "Digital Fly Portraits", "Scavengers", "The Value of Art", "Fly Objects", "Ar(t)chive", and "ToBee"
Co-production in collaboration with the ZKM, Karlsruhe (DE) and the OÖ Landes-Kultur, Linz (AT)
- Brussels, Belgium

2022 OK Zentrum Linz "The Artwork as a Living System" (2nd Sept 2022 - 26th Feb 2023)
Retrospective exhibition
Curators: Alfred Weidinger and Genoveva Rückert-Sommerauer
Featuring "Interactive Plant Growing", "A-Volve", "Phototropy", "Life Writer", "Life Spacies II", "Mobile Feelings II", "Portrait on the Fly", "Haze Express", "Eau de Jardin", "People on the Fly", "Fly Plotter Portraits", "Digital Fly Portraits", "Scavengers", "The Value of Art", "Fly Objects", "Anthroposcope", "Antopolis", "Ar(t)chive", and "ToBee".
- Linz, Austria

2022 ZKM Retrospective "The Artwork as a Living System" (07.May.2022 – 31.July.2022)
(video trailer) (STIR World article)
Retrospective exhibition
Curated by Peter Weibel (Cuator), Jessica Menger (Co-Curator), Philipp Ziegler (Co-Curator). Nina Liechti (Curatorial Assistance)
The interactive installations in the exhibition tell the story of almost 30 years of artistic work by the Austrian-French artist duo Christa Sommerer and Laurent Mignonneau.
Based on an idea of Karin Ohlenschläger.
The exhibition is a co-production of ZKM | Karlsruhe, OÖ Landes-Kultur GmbH, Linz and iMal, Brussels. The exhibition is accompanied by a scholarly publication in English edited by Karin Ohlenschläger, Peter Weibel and Alfred Weidinger in the Leonardo Book Series in collaboration with MIT Press.
Featuring "Interactive Plant Growing", "A-Volve", "Phototropy", "Life Writer", "Life Spacies II", "Mobile Feelings II", "Portrait on the Fly", "Haze Express", "Eau de Jardin", "People on the Fly", "Fly Plotter Portraits", "Digital Fly Portraits", "Scavengers", "The Value of Art", "Fly Objects", "Ar(t)chive", and "ToBee".
- Karlsruhe, Germany

2022 Stiftung Kunstforum Berliner Volksbank "CASH on the Wall" (17. Feb 2022 until 19. June 2022)
Group exhibition with works from the Collection Berliner Volksbank, Collection Haupt, and other lenders
featuring our work The Value of Art (Sheep), 2019 © Christa Sommerer & Laurent Mignonneau from the Collection Haupt
With works by:  Katharina Arndt, Joseph Beuys, Bewegung NURR, Victor Bonato, Dadara, Annett Deppe, WP Eberhard Eggers, Thomas Eller, Elmgreen & Dragset, Albrecht Fersch, Ueli Fuchser, Hannah Heer, Markus Huemer, Uta Hünniger, Horst Hussel, Robert Jelinek, Anne Jud, Vollrad Kutscher, Alicja Kwade, Christin Lahr, Helge Leiberg, Via Lewandowsky, Lies Maculan, Laurent Mignonneau, Lee Mingwei, Michael Müller, Roland Nicolaus, Wolfgang Nieblich, Ingrid Pitzer, Anahita Razmi, Werner Schmiedel, Michael Schoenholtz, Reiner Schwarz, Justine Smith, Christa Sommerer, Gerd Sonntag, Daniel Spoerri, Klaus Staeck, Hans Ticha, Timm Ulrichs, Philipp Valenta, Petrus Wandrey, Andy Warhol, Caroline Weihrauch, Vadim Zakharov.
-: Berlin, Germany

2020 New Media Gallery
- Vancouver, Canada

2019 Museum for Contemporary Art of Vojvodina
in Novi Sad Perceptions of Contemporaneity

Exhibition: "The Universal Sea"
7.09.2019 – 30.09.2019, Opening: 16.09.2019
Curated by Nicole Löser
featuring The Value of Art
- Novi Sad, Serbia

2019 Energie AG Art Collection
Curator: Genoveva Rückert-Sommerauer and Reinhard Gattinger
Organized by the OK Center Linz
Feb. 6 - Mar. 1, 2019
- Linz, Austria

2016 PLUNC 2016 New Media and Digital Art Festival
(29. Sept - 2. Oct. 2016)
With works by:
Artica CC, Thomas Grogan, anaa colectivo, Antonio Quiroga Waldthaler, Laurent Mignonneau & Christa Sommerer, Nuno Correia, Monica Vlad, Tiago Rorke e Maurício Martins, Ben Grosser, Emilio Vavarella and Fito Segrera
- Lisbon, Portugal

2016 Electra Festival Art Numérique
Arsenale Montreal, Canada
Featuring "The Value of Art"
- Montreal, Canada

2015 L'Art et le Numérique en Résonance 1/3, Convergence (15th January - 4th April 2015)
at the Maison Populaire de Montreil
Curator: Dominique Moulon
Artists: Samuel Bianchini, Marie-Julie Bourgeois, Emilie Brout & Maxime Marion, Patra Cortright, Olia Lialina, Christa Sommerer & Laurent Mignonneau, Samuel St-Aubin, Gwenola Wagon & Stephane Degoutin et Du Zhenjun
Featuring "The Value of Art"
- Paris, France

2014 Galerie Charlot Paris, (10th September - 11th October 2014)
featuring "Escape", "Excavate" and "The Value of Art"
- Paris, France

2013 New Dakota Art Museum
featuring "The Value of Art"
- Amsterdam, Netherlands

2013 Festival Les Bouillants (April 7 until June 9 2013)
- Vern-sur-Seiche, France

2013 The Brick Lane Gallery (28. Februar bis 11. März 2013 )
Annex 93-95 Sclater St. E16HR,
London, England

2012 SHOW OFF LAB’ Edition 2012 (during the FIAC in Paris, October, 17th-21st 2012)
Artists: Joseph Nechvatal, Pascal Dombis, Grégory Chatonsky, Miguel Chevalier, France Cadet, RYBN, Lydia Venieri, Julien Levesque, David Guez, Marika Dermineur & Stéphane Degoutin, Christoph Bruno, Samuel Bainchini, Burak Arikan, Reynald Drouhin, Julie Morel, Stéfane Perraud, Christian Globensky, Eduardo Kac, David Letellier, Julie Morel, Albertine Meunier&Lulien Levesque, Olivier Ratsi, Société Réaliste, Antoine Schmitt, Michaël Sellem, Flavien Théry, Du Zhenjun, Christa Sommerer et Laurent Mignonneau
Curator: Dominique Moulon
7, rue des filles du calvaire & 7 rue froissart,
- Paris, France

2011 ZKM Media Museum "The Global Contemporary. Art Worlds After 1989"
17th September 2011 until 5th February 2012
- ZKM Zentrum fuer Kunst und Medientechnologie Karlsruhe, Germany

2011 D.A.M. gallery(7th May 2011- 15 July 2011)
solo exhibition "The Value of Art"
Cologne, Germany

2010 MEDIATIONS Biennale
“Beyond Erased Walls”
September 5th- October 10th 2010
curators: Ryszard Kluszcynski and Tsutomu Mizusawa
- Poznan, Poland