#3 Curating As Expanded Conservation

Date: 18 November 2021, 2-6 pm, Zoom

About this workshop

How do curation and conservation intersect when it comes to the presentation of post-1960s time-based artworks emerging from processes of what Lucy Lippard described as ‘the dematerialisation of the art object’? While in the case of works based on performance and installation each act of exhibiting – that is display or activation of an artwork – may already involve some aspects of preservation, not all preservation aims at displaying artworks. In this workshop, co-convened by Dr Judit Bodor and Dr Hanna B. Hölling, and with contribution from artist/curator Prof André Stitt and Benjamin Sebastian and Joseph Morgan Schofield from ]performance s p a c e[, we will examine how the intersection of curation and conservation might productively contribute to the way we engage with and conceptualize ephemeral practices. We will explore how curatorial acts and gestures are always reliant on factors such as the situatedness of curatorial knowledge and the limitations and/or excesses of the archive, and how they problematize and alter, if not derail, our understanding of the ongoing lives of artworks. What does it mean to curate and/or conserve an artwork? Can an artwork be conceived apart or always already in relation to curatorial and conservation practices – as an entanglement of many different hands and minds? Expect lively presentations by workshop leaders followed by group interactions.

Nam June Paik, Zen For Film, 1962–64. Film projection during the exhibition Revisions–Zen for Film. Curated by Hanna Hölling. Bard Graduate Center Gallery, New York, 17 September 2015–21 February 2016. (Photo: Hanna Hölling.)

Bibliography and relevant resources

Who’s involved

Hanna B. Hölling

Dr Hanna B. Hölling is Associate Professor in the Department of History of Art, University College London and Research Professor at Bern University of the Arts, Switzerland. Her research, publications and teaching focus on the art and cultural developments since the 1960s and 70s and on aspects of time, change, materiality and archive in relation to how we conceive of artworks in terms of objects that endure. Among her books are Revisions-Zen for Film (Bard Graduate Center, 2015), which accompanied an eponymous exhibition at the Bard Graduate Center Gallery in New York (17 September 2015–22 February 2016) and Paik’s Virtual Archive: Time, Change and Materiality in Media Art (University of California Press, 2017).  She is editor of Object—Event—Performance: Art, Materiality and Continuity since the 1960s (Bard Cultural Histories of the Material World series, 2021), Landscape (with Johannes M. Hedinger; Vexer 2019) and The Explicit Material: Inquiries on the Intersection of Curatorial and Conservation Cultures (with Francesca Bewer and Katharina Ammann; Brill 2019). Hanna currently leads on the research project Performance: Conservation, Materiality, Knowledge at Bern University of the Arts.

Andre Stitt

Andre Stitt & Alastair MacLennan: Spectral Arc/Vanishing Point, St. Paul St. Gallery, Auckland, New Zealand, 2011.

Andre Stitt was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland in 1958. He studied at Ulster Polytechnic and Belfast College of Art & Design, Ulster University 1976-1980. From 1980-1999 he lived and worked in London increasingly travelling and making work internationally throughout the eighties and nineties. In 1999 he moved to Wales to take up a position as Director of Time Based Art at Cardiff School of Art & Design. He is currently Professor of Performance & Interdisciplinary Art at Cardiff School of Art & Design, Cardiff Metropolitan University and programme leader of the MFA. Working almost exclusively as a performance and interdisciplinary artist Stitt gained an international reputation for cutting edge, provocative and politically challenging work. A predominant theme in his artistic output is that of communities and their dissolution often relating to trauma, conflict and art as a redemptive proposition. His ‘live’ performance and installation works have been presented at major museums, galleries and specific sites throughout the world. He was director of trace: Installaction Artspace in Cardiff from 2000-2010 initiating a robust programme of international installation and performance work. Stitt’s performance art curatorial work includes Span2 International Project, London 2001, Flashes From The Archives of Oblivion (Chapter Art Centre, Cardiff 2007-8), RHWNT (Quebec 2003-4), Of Contradiction (Beijing 2005,) and Trace Displaced (Tramway, Glasgow 2008), the National Eisteddfod of Wales 2008 & Artspace, Sydney 2009.

]performance s p a c e[

Martin O’Brien and Rubiane Maia: PSX: 10 hours, 2021
]performance s p a c e[ at The Ugly Duck, Photo by Fenia Kotsopoulou.

]performance s p a c e [ is the UK’s only studio and exhibition space dedicated to performance art. Our mission is to facilitate the prime conditions for the production of performance art in the UK (and beyond). Currently based in Folkestone’s Creative Quarter (Kent), our organisation continues to cultivate time-based work that critically and physically pushes the boundaries of the body, time and space. ]ps[ remains an artist-led initiative, committed to our identity as a DIY, anti-institutional space supporting challenging and difficult work that embraces performance art as an ever-evolving medium. In 2021, ]ps[ marked our 10th anniversary with a special programme: PSX – a decade of performance art in the UK. After ten journeys around the sun – our bodies soaked in blood, sweat, tears, eco-glitter – we celebrated ]ps[‘ resilience, and the remarkable constellation of artists involved in ]ps[, by looking to the past, present & future(s) of performance art in the UK. We hosted screenings, talks, performances, exhibitions, bursaries, workshops and residencies, and the programme culminated in a 10-hour durational live work by 9 of the UK’s leading performance artists. PSX is a proudly intergenerational programme, marking both our international and local constellations and foregrounding the contributions of queer, Trans*, POC & womxn artists.


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