Artist Interviews and Artist Participation as Research Tools in Conservation Practices

Practices Aga Wielocha, specialisation Contemporary Art

This PhD project aims to answer the question, how the artist interview and artist participation can be used as a research tool in conservation and as a source in art technological research. Although the artist interview is recognized as an important tool to gather information about contemporary artworks, how this source is used and implemented in museum practice for conservation and presentation issues has not been investigated, nor is there an investigation of how information obtained through the participation of artists at installation moments and the interactions between artists, curators/conservators can and should be valued and used for presentation and conservation purposes. Hence, the methods for systematic analysis and interpretation of oral and visual sources that are created when moments of interaction are recorded need to be developed and implemented in museum practice. The aim of this research project is to further develop the theory and methodology for using artist interviews and framing artist participation in museum practices as new source materials. Moments of interaction will be recorded and analysed to understand their significant features and to assess their value for the conservation and curatorial practices of contemporary art.

The researcher will study oral history theory and practices and apply these in a museum context. She will assist in or carry out a conservation treatment or reinstallation of a complex artwork from the museum collection. Interviews will be conducted and analysed; the process of participation during conservation / reinstallation of the artwork and (self-)reflection of the researcher on his/her practice will be captured in documentation according to newly established parameters. An analysis will be made of the impact of this process on the identity of the artwork and an outline will be made of future scenarios in relation to the potential use of the co-constructed sources.

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