Sebastian Jung

Rules of the Game

Sebastian Jung

As an artist, working with a gallery gives me the chance to concentrate on my art and not have to worry so much about its distribution and mediation. But this is also where the struggle begins, both for interpretive sovereignty and for claims about which spin is good for the career or work of an artist.

Galleries may occasionally intervene in the artists’ attitudes because good marketing can never be considered completely detached from product development. The question is: where does the line get drawn between unfair intervention and constructive advice? The fact that apart from the transaction of ideas, it is always about money is another trap.

Galleries have power as players in the market, but also on their artists. It is good for artists if their interests are also represented in terms of money. Problems arise when galleries have content-related intentions that differ from their artists’. But if both agree on the basics, there can be an important alliance.

In the art market, the boundaries between friendship and business relationships are blurred. You play along, but may become cynical due to inner distancing; or you can trust in the supposed friendships and inevitably get hurt again and again— simply due to structural circumstances. In either case, it is important to recognize that every human being equally has the capacity to hurt and be hurt.1

As an artist in this project, I ask myself if an undertaking like this can function at all, if a player has the capacity to critically question the game he or she is taking part in; a capitalist game in which scales are shifted, especially in regards to pricing, even if a work only costs a few thousand euros.

Art remains a mirror of the conditions of its production, but nevertheless I believe that it can open a door to another world. The question remains whether galleries are willing and able to go there … and if we should all look together to see if perhaps such a door is already open.

1 See Johanna Schwanberg: Die Kunst, verwundbar zu bleiben (
accessed 13.04.2021).