Barter system part of appeal for Brussels art show

Tue Jan 31, 2012 11:50am EST
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BRUSSELS (Reuters) - In the history of currency, earplugs have, unsurprisingly, never been widely used or accepted. So when a man offered Belgian artist Delphine Boël 10,000 earplugs for her print "The Source of Identity" at the Truc Troc contemporary art exhibit in 2006, her reaction was, "God, he's crazy."

Then she thought about it overnight - and became inspired.

"I phoned the guy the next day and I said, 'You've got the print, give me 10,000 earplugs and I'm going to make a work of art with it.'"

Unusual offers are the norm and part of the fun of Truc Troc, which is in its eighth year since restarting in 2004 after initial shows in 1975 and 1976.

The event's concept came from Belgian sculptor Mon de Rijck, who wanted to "democratize" art exhibitions through bartering.

Visitors to Truc Troc post an offer near a piece of art and the artist can choose which offer, if any, they want to accept.

Event organizers said on Sunday afternoon they were on pace for about 20,000 visitors, the same as last year, for the three-day event at Bozar, a Brussels fine arts centre.

The exhibition, which included a party with DJs on Friday night, was meant to attract young people and remove barriers to the traditionally expensive art world.

"Maybe some people come just to listen to the DJ or to drink some beer," said Mikhail Porollo, a photographer participating in the show. "But then at the end of the day, they walk through the exhibition, they know what's happening ... and then they interact with the art."   Continued...