Sketches from Michele Trenti's essays

Fair Compensation

Appunti di Michele Trenti

In the art field, any talk of compensation always triggers the unpleasant feeling of dealing with the matter like Scrooge. Nevertheless, the question of what an artist’s compensation for his work should be must be seriously addressed. Is it the time devoted to the job itself, the amount of time invested to be able to do that work, the (inner) enrichment it provides to users? Moreover, it is almost impossible to calculate in monetary terms the magnitude of these terms. On top of that, it meets up with the need of making assessments that are open to a broad range of subjective judgment. However, in the entrepreneurial management of the cultural sector, a painful inequality of resources is very often noted. In addition, there has been the observably widespread habit of compensating more generously for an attractive "package" of unoriginal ideas than for the richness and depth of the contents. Since a true artist does not work for a profit but rather out of an inner need that is stronger than any utilitarian considerations, a compensation that permits a simple, dignified livelihood, without any sort of exaggeration, would be, on the one hand, the best guarantee of the product’s "genuine" quality and, on the other, avoid squandering significant sums on freak shows or dubious speculations.