Art vs Law

At the Neukölln Academy of Now!
Saturday, February 5th
16.00 - 20.00

Curated Visual Essay plus Discussion (Artists working in and around legal concepts, or with positive/negative experiences of copyright law, particularly welcome and encouraged to participate in discussion).

Increasingly, contemporary artists are coming into conflict with 'The Law' - in most cases with that confusing area of the law known as copyright. An emerging young artist such as Cartrain, for example, can find himself legally constrained by an established artist such as Damien Hirst. Cartrain took an image of Hirst’s piece ‘For The Love of God’ and included it in a cheeky portrait of the man himself.


Sometimes, of course, the issue of whether a problematic ‘taking’ has occurred is a little bit more complicated than that – especially the more conceptual the art becomes. Copyright law operates under the assumption that copying all, or at least a substantial part, of an image, without permission of the creator, is illegal. The world of art, on the other hand, believes itself to have no such prejudice: all that can matter is whether or not the ‘new’ work is considered to be art, irrespective of whether or not it is, aesthetically, the same or very similar. When taken to an absolute conclusion, the results can be, well, somewhat confusing, and perhaps a little bit disrespectful to the original artist – although a point about ownership might be being made.

Law and Art are therefore perceived, in many cases, to be in an intractable conflict. Does this have to be the case? This curated visual essay (plus discussion afterwards) wants to explore the idea of the apparent conflict between art and law, and hopes to illustrate that both disciplines could, in fact, learn a little from the other. The aim is to set the artist to thinking about how law could, perhaps, facilitate their practice, how the law could protect their work from mis-treatment, how it could be appropriately circumvented, or, indeed, how it could be utilised to better communicate the artistic concept or undertake a critical commentary upon the law itself.

With artists Enda O’Donoghue and Eoin Llewellyn discussing how law intersects with their own practice.

Curated by Alan Cunningham

Visual Essay from 16:00
Discussion starts at 18:00