Elmyr de Hory was a prolific art forger. During the 50’s and 60’s he specialised mainly in the fauves ; Matisse, Dufy ect… Fernand Legros was an illegal immigrant from Egypt and a ballet dancer , who with his lover Canadian backpacker Real Lessard sold de Hory’s forgeries to some of the biggest art museums and most of the biggest art collectors in Europe and the U.S. During the 1960s, they proved the fine art world was as brand gullible as any bunch of teenage girls in any suburban shopping mall.
In 1820, Gregor MacGregor made up a fake country called the Republic of Poyais. He opened offices in Edinburgh, Glasgow and London where he sold Poyais real estate and exchanged money for the Poyais dollars his mate printed for him. After months in a boat doing laps of Central America, the few Poyais investors who had survived realised there was no Poyais but refused to accept they’d been duped.
This is Fernand Legros, so desperate for money and so contemptuos of his art buyers he often couldn’t wait for his fake Matisse’s, Duffy’s ect…to completely dry before he showed/selled them to his clients. Here he sells his art to backpackers off a clothes line with one of his young men/boy assistants who he always dressed in expensive suits. To his right is one of the partys he threw with fake celebrities – european royalty.
Here nuns sell fake holy relics in front of their cardboard church. The nuns sell milk from the Virgin Mary with two cows suspiciously grazing behind them along with a Matisse painting by naked women trying to selfie themselves while struggling to include all their fake handbags. The scene is made credible by the velvet rope surrounding it, which is rolled out like electric cable by workmen.
People in Poyais weren’t interested in the painting – just the brand so they showed of their art collection by hanging them on the outside of their houses. To make the crude seem classy, opening champagne arrives in wheelbarrows.
In the late 70’s and early 80’s when people watched Chris Evert Lloyd and Martina Navratilova play tennis they saw christians vs. the rest of the world, they saw freedom vs. communism, hetro vs. homosexuality, beauty vs. brawn, ladieness vs. ambition and fantasy vs. reality . Detail 1
Martina’s dad leaft her family when she was 3 and he committed suicide when Martina was 8. Martina’s early coach was her stepfather. Martina grew up in communist Prague where even if you had a living and present father he was horribly emasculated by the government system which demanded obsequious obedience. The government made the decisions for the family. Many office buildings in Prague have tennis nets painted on the outside of them with distant fathers inside them and orphaned daughters hitting against them, the balls never penetrating and always coming back. Detail 2
In her mid teens – chaperoned by middle-aged male communist officials – Martina took her complicated psychology to the women’s tennis tour of the the late 1970’s where the players were given mops , cleaning detergent and ovens for winning tournaments. Detail 3
Chris Evert grew up amongst a big middle class suburban family. The family constantly posing with tennis trophies in white tennis clothes and under metres of shampooed blonde hair. Chris’s dad was a tennis coach and Chris – no more talented than her siblings – determinedly rose to the top of her fathers affections with faultless ground strokes and a stealy focus.
As the womens world tennis tour grew in the early 80’s it soon became a celebration of poor parenting. The women playing for money and fame could not compete against an opponent playing to win her father’s (coach’s) love.
Most of the girls farmed out to the tennis tour had barely developed out of the fairytale and pony stage. Underdeveloped and needy they live in hotels and airports, relentlessly compared and assessed , sponsored and then not. Finally – exausted and injured they are leaft in a pile somewhere in a foriegn country with only torn tennis dresses and a suitcase full of plastic trophies. They walk the streets looking for the joy and big hugs their fathers gave them when they won .This is what the painting is mainly about.
tonight on the 7.30 report cherly hall will do a story on my show. here are some photos of me and marielle soni (the art centre co-ordinator at the time i was in milikapiti ) being inyerviewed for it.