There was no ruffling of banknotes or glimmer of diamond rings to be seen at Art Barter in the Rag Factory just off Brick Lane this weekend. Despite the presence of works by the likes of Gavin Turk, Tracey Emin and Gary Hume, the only acceptable currency was things or skills visitors were willing to trade in exchange for the displayed artworks.
Fifty established and upcoming artists displayed works, which ranged from oil paintings, photography to light installation, but did not feature name tags - so the viewers could appreciate them for their aesthetic value and not for the artist's superstar status. If something took your fancy, you wrote down the artwork's number and what you were willing to trade for it and pinned it to the wall and after the three-day exhibition, the forms were sent to the artist for them to choose from.
The brainchild of curators Lauren Jones and Alix Janta, the exhibition takes a stab at de-commodifying the art market. "We want to make art available to a more diverse crowd, not just people with disposable income," says Jones.