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Fragments of a Conversation with a Counterfeiter 
Roma Publications Amsterdam
Preface by

Hicham Khalidi

Diego Tonus and Huib Haye van der Werf

Designed by
Roger Willems and Dongyoung LeeSupported by
Italian Council Award 2018 – a competition ideated by the Directorate General for Contemporary Art and Architecture and Urban Peripheries (DGAAP) – organ of the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities, to promote Italian contemporary art in the world.



Fragments of a Conversation with a Counterfeiter contributes to a discussion about the transformation and transportation of value, questioning the valorization of time and space in time of crisis. This series of new works derives from an assumed conversation between Diego Tonus and a forger (anonymous for practical reasons) revealing controversial thoughts related to contemporary systems that deal with the definition of value. Each artwork is the visual translation by the artist of this conversation manifested through the act of presenting objects, actions and words experienced by the forger within his practice of reproduction of value and ways of transporting it, hacking system of controls and dealing with the definition of individuality. Each artwork is presented in co-authorship with the forger. Tonus approaches the thoughts of the counterfeiter as if they were his intellectual property, questioning the ‘counter’ of counterfeiting and appropriating his ideas. In order to share the appropriated forger’s ideas with the international audience, to activate and perform them, the artist has registered the works as trade secrets at the Benelux Office for Intellectual Property. The validity of the trade secret is international and lasts 10 years.


This publication serves as a formal and legal body of proof documenting the artworks and their making-of and stating that the artist owns the final copyrights on the forgers’ ideas displayed in the series.