I am intrigued by the multiple meanings of the word authenticity as it relates to people and objects. Do the words, ‘he is really such an authentic person’ have attached to it some kind of provenance? Can a person’s authenticity somehow be tracked to past deeds/accomplishments? Is there a stamp of approval or certificate of validation offered to an individual for being authentic as when one refers to some object of value. In the auction houses, if it’s declared authentic, then is can’t possibly be a perfect reproduction done by a top forger. Maybe, maybe not. As a cynic, I wouldn’t doubt that in the art world where people can drop millions for an authenticated masterpiece which was only due to the authentication of the ‘experts,’ people have been tricked. Authenticating works of art is integral to the reputation of an auction house but even they may fail from time to time.
Buyers may go into their personal vaults and stare at what they believe to be a true Rembrandt because the documents say it is so, and they’ve paid enough for it. But, gifted forgers can fool many people. You wouldn’t be buying that 18 million dollar Vermeer painting from Christie’s auction house without papers of authenticity presented would you? Is it or is it not authentic? This is often a conundrum even if the provenance has been established and the paint has been carbon dated to the time the artist lived and it was found to be confiscated by Nazis during world war 2 and hidden in an obscure vault in a bank. Sound like the makings of a true thriller. Still there are grey areas.
So, how do we define an authentic person. It’s certainly a trait many aim for but if we’re honest with ourselves, we may admit to have failed miserably on some occasions. Are we the ones to judge whether we are being authentic because who is to say we’re not? There are grey areas. Do we leave it up to those who have a relationship with us to make that judgement? Are they about to tell us, “C’mon, you’re not being authentic in your narrative.? Although I’ve never said it to someone, I’ve certainly thought it. That’s the time when my bull-s… detector starts to pulse and my eyes become unfocused.
For me, the word authentic or having authenticity (used as a noun) conjures up the words, get real, be genuine, be your heroic self, remove that emotional barrier of protection and let others see you warts and all.
I would suggest that having authentic power comes from within and provides us with the tools to bring ourselves into a potentially elevated space; a space where one can say at the end of the day, I didn’t camouflage myself with all the masks I’m good at wearing, I stood in my power and told the truth as I believe it to be. Your true essence will then shine through and you’ll know when you’ve arrived.
Tags: Authentic, Authenticity, Christie’s Auction House, Provenance, Forger