October is about to end and Brexit – now at the door – could change the games.
In a positive or a negative way?
It is a question that everyone is asking, but apparently doubts about what could or could not happen for now remains uncertain, pending the agreement between the parties.
London – considered the “Big Apple” of Europe – has a very important role and position within the art market and its success is due in particular to the English regulatory model, which sees import taxes at 5% – the lowest in the EU – and Brexit could represent another opportunity for Great Britain to be even more competitive on the global market, implementing a regulatory review closer to its competitors USA (0%) and China (3%).
European Union legislation, with its complex bureaucracy and costly administration, allegedly penalized the London market by placing it in a position of disadvantage compared to its big rivals, New York and Hong Kong.
Brexit could therefore represent an interesting opportunity for Great Britain, free from the constraints of the EU, but it could also lead to a significant weakening of the market, since the exit from the European Union will stop the funds and financing of which the United Kingdom and its many museums and galleries have benefited from, not to mention individual artists.
An example of the monumental sculpture “Angel of the North” (1994-1998) by Antony Gormley located in Gateshead, was financed exactly thanks to EU funds.
Already at the time of the referendum many internationally renowned artists such as Tacita Dean, Wolfgang Tillmans, Michael Craig-Martin, Banksy, the aforementioned Antony Gormley and many others – had taken the side in favour of staying within the European Union by actively joining to the “Remain” campaign by creating works of art, posters and slogans.
Strong concerns were also expressed by historical institutions and institutional roles – from the director of Tate Nicholas Serota to Martin Roth – director of the Victoria & Albert Museum, also worried about the consequences of the lack of European subsidies dedicated to research.
But it’s not just about funding. In addition to the disappearance of legal and economic facilities, the possible weakening of investments and the impact on the economy in general, other obstacles such as export licenses will also have to be taken into consideration.
Many of the leading players of the art-market are in fact evaluating a possible withdrawal of the works deposited in London, as Larry Gagosian, who apparently has already begun to move assets from London to the offices of Athens, Basel, Geneva and Paris.
Certainly London will no longer represent the world airport for the importation of works within the European Union and it is precisely the French capital that is preparing to take up the baton, having the second lowest European taxation with 5.5% .
Some important galleries – including White Cube, David Zwirner, Pace Gallery – are already planning to open Parisian offices and the city is ready to reap the rewards of moving capital, a situation that could therefore favour the French market.
Conversely, the galleries that have scheduled shows from November onwards have been organized in advance to bring the works to Great Britain, in order to avoid the risk of new rules on customs duties.
For now, despite the uncertainties, London continues to maintain its central role – just think of all the museums, galleries, international fairs and auction houses that have their headquarters here – and the good results obtained from the auctions just concluded and from the fair Frieze confirm it.
Regardless of favourable predictions or not, what emerges is the important repercussions on the global market implied by the United Kingdom leaving the European Union that make the close correlation between art, politics and the economy even clearer.