Thesis on the importance of the artist interview (with Italian artists as cases)
By Benedetta Bodo di Albaretto as part of her studies at the University of Ferrara (Italy) in Conservation of Modern and Contemporary Art.
Benedetta is a graduate from the University of Turin; Science and Technology for Cultural Heritage.
Expected date of completion: July 2009
In three years of studies in Science and Technology for Cultural Heritage, I found that a significant part of research done in the conservation of ancient works is devoted to materials and methods used in the implementation and importance of changes occurred due to aging, in relation to the original intentions of the artists. We know that all information relating to these topics are valuable and highly relevant in decisions on restoration processes and provide a background for the conservation and restoration.
In two years of specialization in Conservation of Modern and Contemporary art (Ferrara) I was able to realize how many different types of techniques and materials are used in art from XIX century to now. These techniques, that are often incomprehensible without direct artist information in their meaning and deep intentions that motivate them. The problem for their conservation is taken more seriously by the professionals for a short time compared to the wide variety of works produced in recent decades.
I was able to learn that today there are few methods in order to study and record these processes: most of the information is provided by artists, but also from modern art museums and restorers. All this, however, is not never been collected and made available nor between the artists and their assistants, or at the museums, or in private laboratories for restoration. The reports of restoration, research findings, information and interviews with artists, the installation protocols are implemented, but not made public and available and are often unavailable in non-organized archives.
This situation is a threat to the conservation of contemporary art, and is an issue that I have found to deal often with the artists that I have become acquainted with over the years. When I learned that some institutions have set up an international network (INCCA) in which information is brought together to create a virtual archive of the artists, I thought it was a good idea for my thesis project.
Relationship between conservator/restorer and artists
It is increasingly important to combine a visual inspection of works with an interview with an artist about techniques, how it has developed his artistic activity, what kind of materials were used and from which companies they derive. I'm interested in the importance of creating archives like the INCCA Database for Artists' Archives and making this process as natural as possible and fruitful for both sides: the artists could also have the opportunity to learn more about techniques and materials and their behaviour over time. I thought about a collaboration with some artists which shows that this is a demonstration of esteem and recognition in their work: the involvement of the artist is not to say become invasive, but is essential for the survival of their works.
I want to get a spectrum of cases in terms of contemporary artistic activities; I would have different situations to be analyzed, along with related issues that you may have over time. From a practical point of view I intend to illustrate some different realities thanks to the direct relationship with the artists interviewed, after which I will review the situation regarding the validity of the models of departure and I will propose, if necessary, and / or helpful additions and / or changes to the original draft.
Offering as examples of their work I would explain their different needs, find out why they chose certain materials and how they have worked, where if they are procured and investigate them first if they know, or have had the opportunity to check the pros and cons.
I made contact with the following artists:
Stefano Bombardieri, Sergio Zanni, Anila Rubiku, Hiroyuki Masuyama and with some artists from the collection of Foundation Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Paola Pivi, Giuseppe Gabellone, Grazia Toderi, Patrick Tuttofuoco, Diego Perrone, Flavio Favelli.
I have made contact with (Italian) professionals in the field: Marina Pugliese and Antonio Rava (my teacher in Turin) and I will contact with the restorer Barbara Ferriani.
The main goal is to raise awareness of artists and workers in general about the importance that has, in the field of conservation and restoration of contemporary art, the habit by an artist to release this type of interviews, demonstrating what is important to know the nature and significance of their works to be able to keep them.
Benedetta Bodo di Albaretto: