In 1990 Andrea Murnik was the owner of a contemporary art gallery in Milan. Among the artists with whom he worked there was Rob Scholte, which that year was representing the Netherlands at the Venice Biennale.
The catalog of the exhibition prepared by him for the Biennial (whose title was “Tesoro di San Marco” indeed) contained a story, in which it is narrated of an American artist residing in Venice, a genius of art. His work consisted in painting his masterpieces, and then coat them with paintings flea market-style (gondolas, views of Venice and such similar rubbish), to sell to the tourists on the streets of the city on the lagoon. Only witness of this work a small sketchbook, in which were the images of the masterpieces and the relative cheap paintings that covered them.
So the masterpieces finished then dispersed, in the hands of unsuspecting tourists and only a great commitment could discover them in homes far away and bring them to the knowledge and vision of all.
I think that the reference is clear. We’d like, however, add another reference. In one of his visits to Scholte, while he was in Venice to prepare for the shows, Murnik asked to Scholte if he was willing to sign and number the back of ten plastic objects, purchased on stalls of Kitsch objects for tourists in Venice.
It was one of those gondolas, placed in front of a background representing the Grand Canal and the Rialto Bridge, illuminated by small lights for Christmas tree decoration, framed in a heavy frame pseudo-baroque, strictly golden and also plastic made. Scholte, whose work was based on the highlighting of the fetishism, was happy to accept that.
Probably the germ of the Artist-Writer action, that really started from the criticism of the fetishism of the art system, is just in this action Murnik-Scholte.