[VISITING ARTIST] Appropriation (Frida Kahlo): 2018, collage

The piece references traditions of creative re-use and re-appropriation, asking: where do we draw the line between the imitation and development inherent in the notion of ‘artistic tradition’ and when does this spill over into parody, plagiarism or appropriation?

Here Pipsinella references the cats of the popular ‘I Can Haz Cheezburger’ internet ‘meme’, repurposed image and text from various artistic traditions and Frida Kahlo’s use and re-use of her own image, itself now ubiquitous from the aisles of our malls to Theresa May’a wrist. She asks: Is imitation the sincerest form of flattery, or simply the frankest form of theft? Does it ‘steal’ from an original to appropriate and re-use it? Without re-use what is an artistic tradition? Are there positive aspects to the activity commonly decried nowadays as ‘cultural appropriation’? And what is the value of ‘originality’ in the age of internet memes?

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