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NARCOTIC SALE

“Shopping, an Intoxicant”

 

All motifs from the thematic photo sequence showcased here are available in high-quality limited editions signed by the artist, in a variety of mediums, formats and executions. You will find further details under Limited Editions.
 

 

Dynamic and globally minded


Till recently, a SALE was something held to clear out goods twice a year. There were summer and winter Sales for avid bargain-hunters. Not any more. The SALE has mutated from occasional binge to never-ending rampage. 24/7. 365 days a year. In Germany, the artist’s home, the floodgates were opened, when in 2004 the laws were amended to abolish the restriction of sales to summer and winter periods.



The English word SALE has gone global, supplanting its counterparts in other languages because it is unequalled in sexiness and addictive nature. What once was a seasonal occurrence primarily aimed at economical middle-aged homemakers, became a perpetual, narcotic bacchanal geared towards an entirely new target group; young cosmopolitans prone to impulse buying. Lots of people who do not belong to this elite identify with it. They want to belong and possess the status symbols of eternal youth and wealth. The never-ending Sale puts its willing victims under a thrall of uninhibited non-stop shopping for its own sake.
 

 

A constant state of intoxication


The modern individual must buy more things at ever shorter intervals to win and retain social acceptance – that, at least, is the message the advertising sector propagandizes, stirring up and fuelling a craving for material possessions. Anyone who wants to be considered ‘in’ does not miss out on a single trend and basks in the glamour of possessing select cult brands. Such a person then grasps automatically at anything alleged to increase social status.



The industrial and advertising sectors do their utmost to create artificial demand for unnecessary products by manipulating consumer’s desires. The market is unceasingly flooded with alluringly novel products with ever shorter life spans to make sure the consumer is forced to buy again and again.



To ensure maximum market penetration, these products are mass produced under oft inhumane conditions. As soon as the consumer has fulfilled one irresistible desire, a new one is aroused.
 

 

Unsustainable shopping


The days when we went shopping primarily to fulfill our basic needs are a thing of the past. Now we shop till we drop. Shopping has become an event – an end in itself, a leisure pursuit. According to the Allensbach-Intitut, a leading German market research company, about 17 million people in Germany (roughly a fourth of the total population) named shopping as their favorite leisure pastime. In 2011 it is 20 million who did so. No end in sight.



More and more people derive their sense of self-esteem from shopping in grandiose malls or online. Online shops do booming business and woo their customers with allegedly unbeatable bargains 24/7/365 – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. That makes it easy to nip in the bud any slightest sign of frustration by quickly ordering something really fetching. Or paper over personal shortcomings with a bout of mindless shopping. How long can this go on?
 

 

A hypnotic symbol


In the NARCOTIC SALE photo sequence, Achim Koerfer uses as leitmotif the word SALE in various fonts, solitaire or in groups, graphically set in the foreground or fragmented. The context of each composition leaves a lot of room for free association: the ‘SALE’ may involve jewelry, furniture, fabrics, DVDs – anything is possible. Then in today’s world, anything – simply anything – can be bought and sold. Or sold out.



Especially the hapless consumer who allows himself to be lulled into complacent submission by the little word SALE.



In the face of the earnestness of the subject matter, the visual presentation is not as oppressive as the situation it indicts. It displays a graceful aesthetic appeal. Despite the striking colors, the works retain an air of a mystery waiting to be discovered.
 

 

Selling out humanity


With NARCOTIC SALE, Koerfer provides a thought-provoking impulse to scrutinize our own consumer behavior. Are we still self-directed customers or long since remote-controlled consumers? We cannot go on ignoring social and environmental sustainability in the long term without incurring disastrous consequences. Uninhibited consumerism promotes the despoilment of non-renewable resources, child labor and the exploitation of workers.



Even today, many people all over the world cannot live off the earnings from their livelihoods. Countless households are hopelessly in debt. The gap between rich and poor is growing wider and wider. These are disastrous developments which we must put a stop to by giving priority to other, humane values.
 

 

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