Case research

The case research consisted of:
With photos, a video of the installation, moulds of the chopped holes, the registration of the installation in the museum was documented.
Condition reports, maps and a list of materials are made.

The first step in the process of documenting consisted of a film and a report with photos, made at Barrio’s ’situation’ in the S.M.A.K. From this, a lot of information concerning the process of creation can be examined. Plans and moulds of the holes in the walls were made.

Furthermore a reader is put together with conceptual texts about Barrio’s works, his own texts and photos.

Main purpose of the reader was to distillate from Barrio’s own ideas an appropriate strategy for re-installation. We went through the different options. A re-installation by the artist is the most obvious choice, but is only possible when the artist is still alive. A re-installation by others is a more durable alternative. This re-installation can be conceived literally by following a number of different scenarios, or by a re-interpretation. In the case of this last alternative there has to be build a conceptual book with guidelines. Information for this cause can be drown from texts about his oeuvre and photo and video material but has to be completed with information out of interviews with the artist. A last option is to expose a documentation of Barrio’s work with photo and video material. The role of the CadernoLivros is in this case an important factor.

Judging by Artur Barrio’s own opinions we came to the conclusion that a re-installation by someone else than Barrio himself would not do justice to his work. We base ourselves on the importance of the temporary aspect of his works on one side and the typical creation process on the other.

Not only the materials (transitory coffee, bread, wine, urine, ), but also the installation itself is doomed to exist only now and here. Conserving this ephemere would damage the nature of his work. In 1978 Barrio described his aversion for the ‘today’s society [that] finds a morbid pleasure in accumulating, keeping, mystifying and consequently neutralising and vampirising any attitude of unbridled creativity.’ His temporary, ephemeral installations counter art as a permanent experience. In other words conserving his work would contravene this vision. In a few texts Barrio writes literary about the urge to restore: ‘My work [...] since it passes (is) at a distance from any restoration -, reparation -, by not accepting the possibility and therefore tending to disappear [...] thus any work of my authorship that is restored simply loses the quality of ("oeuvre") original work (coming to be), (becoming) automatically false. [...] The non-comprehension of the work on the part of the collector is revealed when he is trying to restore it.’. In our own CadernoLivro, made at the time of the installation in 2005, this can be read: ‘No to the restoration of my work. Restorers m/f: [...] you don’t have what is necessary to make, restore or whatever, in relation to my work. The work of Artur Barrio restored is the same a work without artistic value, without magical value, without poetical value.’ Apparently his vision hasn’t changed over the years.

Not only collecting would counter his vision, also the process of creation is not suitable for restoring. In the case of such an ephemeral installation his process in situ is after all more important than the final result. In that way it escapes from each tempt to recuperate by the artistic world; after all it can’t be conserved, nor restored. The momentary of the creation itself, the action and the deed is the key point in his installations. The body itself is of an undeniable importance: the body in full action is the art work or the support of the action. The action of that body resulted in a plastic form. Repeating that moment by others would be inappropriate.

On the contrary it would be opportune to us to show what rests. Because of the temporary character of his work he looked for alternative techniques of documentation: photo, video, CadernoLivros his artist books, sound-recordings, ... For Interminável Artur Barrio made a CadernoLivro of his installation in 2005 in the S.M.A.K. and one in 2006 in Kanazawa. Besides that we own a documentary film showing the installation of 2005 and a set of photos. Nevertheless it would be wrong to expose these as the ’work of art’, since they are only part of the informative process , a memory to that certain moment :

‘My work [...] tending to disappear (thence the record)’

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