May 30, 2024

ARTnews Japan: アート分野のブロックチェーン活用最新トレンド! 絵画の高精細画像で真正性の証明書を提供

ARTnews Japan: アート分野のブロックチェーン活用最新トレンド! 絵画の高精細画像で真正性の証明書を提供

English translation:

The latest trends in blockchain utilization in the art field! High-definition images of paintings provide proof of authenticity

When you think of blockchain in the art field , you might think it's related to NFTs and digital works. However, in recent years, multiple platforms have emerged for managing the provenance and provenance of physical artworks. I'd like to introduce you to the forefront of this.

Artclear uses scanning technology jointly developed with HP

It is not only experts who work with masters from before the 18th century, known as Old Masters, who have trouble determining the production year of a work of art. Just recently, there was a report that the year of production of a Damien Hirst work was incorrect , causing an uproar in the art world. Thus, even for living artists, the year of creation of a painting or sculpture may not be accurately recorded.

Just then, London -based Artclear held a press conference to present its new technology. The company is a blockchain company that has developed digital certification technology that guarantees the authenticity of physical works of art and cannot be tampered with.

Several emerging tech companies are competing in this space. Each company uses blockchain to securely record information, but each has a different method of ensuring the provenance and year of production. Among these, Artclear, founded in 2020, received full funding from angel investors, developed a scanner jointly with Hewlett-Packard (HP), a major PC and printer, and obtained a patent. By capturing a high-definition image of a painting and creating an "electronic fingerprint," it provides a certificate of authenticity that "cannot be destroyed or tampered with."

Last month, ArtClear brought two portable scanners to London's John Martin Gallery to issue certificates for paintings included in British artist Andrew Gifford's solo exhibition. The robot arm of the scanner, which is about the size of an electronic piano, is equipped with a 1x macro lens at the end, which captures a detailed scan image of a 5 mm square area at a selected point on the canvas.

Angus Scott, co-founder and CEO of Artclear, explained to ARTnews:

"Here, we use a technology developed by HP to identify printed documents. The principle behind this is that each ink splattered on paper is different, like a fingerprint. The same applies to oil paintings.Each work has its own unique signature built into it.”

Artclear's technology uses multiple algorithms to adjust for variations in focus, angle, and lighting during scanning, ensuring that the image remains consistent no matter how many times the same part of the painting is analyzed. "The idea is to remove the human element and other risks from the analysis," Scott says.

The company has so far signed contracts with three contemporary galleries in London: John Martin Gallery, Langley Gallery and Des Bains. The company has also partnered with Hephaestus Analytical, which provides art appraisal services using machine learning, and is considering approaching auction companies in the future.

Maria Valeria Biondo, director of Des Bains, explained the reason for the introduction:

“Artclear's scanning technology gives collectors peace of mind. Even a new gallery like ours can use this great tool to show that we are a professional dealer.”

All data captured by the scanner is decentralized and stored offline to protect against cybercrime. After that, the digital certificate and the data of the physical work will be permanently linked and stored on the blockchain. Sanjeev Kumar, Artclear's chief technology officer, has developed a compact scanner that can be mounted on a tripod to enable galleries, auction houses, artists, and collectors to issue and verify their own digital fingerprints. He announced that he is planning to do so.

Advantages and concerns of experts in blockchain-based provenance management

Scott used the example of Inigo Philbrick, an art dealer who was sentenced to seven years in prison in 2022, to explain the benefits of Artclear's ability to manage art provenance. Philbrick created false receipts in his name for several pieces of art purchased at auction on behalf of a consortium of investors. He used this to double sell his work.

“Using Artclear, the auction company could have identified the original owner and prevented them from transferring the work without the owner's consent. It allows the facts to be permanently established and linked in a verifiable manner to information about the subject matter of the work, the work itself, the artist, etc. Artists can use Artclear to have definitive information about their new work. This allows us to avoid problems like those that have recently occurred with Damien Hirst's work (questions about the year of production) and to assure collectors of the value of the work."


Author: George Nelson
Published: April 16, 2024

Read the full article here