The Multiple Store has been working for three years to produce high quality three-dimensional multiples. It was set up by Sally Townsend, a former independent arts editor, and Nicholas Sharp, a lawyer with a specialisation in the public arts domain. This is a tiny company, which works out of a minute office in the paintings department of Central St Martin’s Art School. It is non-profit making and receives funding from the Arts Council and the London Arts Board for artists to research projects although there is no public funding for the actual production costs of the works of art. The company has a website and you can browse through all the work but can not buy online. This is partly because the cost of setting up selling online would have been prohibitive and partly because they believed that people would always want to see the works “No dealer would ever consider doing this,” explained Ms Townsend. It is far too labour-intensive and the profits are tiny; these are split 50/50 with the artists. So far the company have held exhibitions at the ICA in London, Yorkshire Sculpture Park and the Whitechapel, and attended various art fairs. Sales have been steady with works going to major public collections, as well as corporate collections such as Unilever and Simmons & Simmons. “We also appeal especially to first time buyers who work in the art world and can’t afford an original work”, explained Ms Townsend. Among the editions produced so far are a Langlands & Bell laser-engraved glass block which shows the airline maps of the world. It is an extraordinarily beautiful object and sells in an edition of 100 for £950. Two best sellers have been Cornelia Parker’s “Meteriorite landing on the Millennium Dome”, which is now sold out, and Rose Finn-Kelcey’s “House rules” of which only 15 remain for an edition of 80 at £395. The latter is a miniature animated sign, a stream of prohibitions scroll past the viewer. Witty and thought provoking, it can even be work like a piece of jewellery. The prices of the objects rise as the editions begin to sell out and these are works which should have a long-term secondary market value.
Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as 'The Multiple Store: three dimensions'