The edition number indicates the essential data of both the total copies fabricated from the master replica and the sequence number of each cast produced in series. The editioning process of the sculpture series is relatively simple, albeit at times misunderstood. The core principles employed in cast editioning are the following.
The jurisdiction doesn’t obligate a restriction of the cast’s total number fabricated from the original print. Neither does it provide any edition limit only if there is no edition limit present or assigned to the last copy of similar work. The sculpture “edition”, meaning a sculpture series with a definite number limit, is typically divided into two different parts.
The Artist series: it refers to the first edition part. The custom usually restricts the artist series to only two casts in total. Traditionally, the original series follows the AC/1 or AC/2 format where AC refers to Artist’s Copy and alternatively 00/1 or 00/2.
Some even use AP (Artist’s Proof) instead of AC. The AC series is usually for personal use, references or archive as they are not accessible for mass release.
Public Series: the second self-explanatory series also follows the same fractional pattern where the numerator signifies the cast’s sequential place within the production. According to the tradition, the sculpture’s edition should be multiples of three, 6, 9, 12 and more. However, any easy total figure is fine unless the number is subjected to alteration after release. Secondly, in a series of twelve, it will be referred to as 5/12. The Artist edition doesn’t influence the numbering or counts as the part of the Public series. Hence, once the Artist series has taken its complement to the fullest, the production of the fifth copy will add to the total number of existing casts, making it seven. After the edition has reached its completion, the sculptor destroys the product mould.
The decision of total numbers apt for an edition can be daunting. If the number of copies is too large, it drops the product’s value, both monetary and intrinsic. In contrast, a small number may denote a limited edition enticing a premium rate. A lengthy edition can go up to a hundred copies, typically and is relevant to mass-produced sculptures on a scanty level like the ones used for commercial purposes.
On the contrary, a small series can limit the artist’s flair and the prospect of selling the design more, restricting the monetary benefits.
A myriad of ethical concerns arises regarding reproduction or cast designs. Hence, it is advisable to be transparent and specific in their dealings and edition policies. The reproduction of a deceased artist’s work is yet another most challenging dilemma. That is why it’s necessary to keep comprehensive catalogues and records while ensuring a will or testament regarding the reproduction of their work, whether it is permissible or not after they are no more.
The edition limit is another chapter that holds ambiguity with no formal guidelines. The marketability or financial value depends on various variables incorporating the sculpture’s appeal and artist’s status to possible buyers. Small-scale work generally outnumbers large-scale sculptures in edition numbers.