Ensemble autour de MUR (1999)
Tuerlinckx, Joëlle

collection Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst (S.M.A.K.), Ghent

In 1998 the S.M.A.K. purchased Joëlle Tuerlinckx's Un ensemble autour de MUR. Originally the work of art consisted of projecting the word MUR onto a white museum wall. During the three erection moments which followed, new elements were always added to this installation work: Un ensemble autour de MUR is a variable installation and a work in progress. This typifies the artist's mode of operation. Her starting point is the experiences and affinities she has with a certain space. This space is discretionary and she borrows certain characteristics from the context. Joëlle Tuerlinckx works with the aspect of time in relation to various materials, colours and shapes. Objects can change: transform, discolour, degrade. These processes of change in her work can be fixed or boosted. Joëlle Tuerlinckx's work is a good example to show how complex installation works of art really can be. The artist interprets the context and translates this in her work. The interpretation of the context leads to the choice of combinations of certain elements from her installation. The museum wanted to investigate how this variable installation work of art could be dealt with and which interpretations could be made.

Thus, within the investigation process the accent was on making an installation protocol and establishing guidelines for the conservation of the various objects. This all took place in close consultation with the artist. During the summer of 2005 a museum hall was put at our disposal to carry out various experiments for this variable installation. After each 'new' installation moment the artist was invited to give comments or suggestions. In most cases she was not in complete agreement and introduced changes. This process resulted in eight different construction scenarios - "experimentations". These were comprehensively documented: everything was accurately charted by way of descriptions, construction plans, photographs and films. It is clear that interpreting installations is really not so simple. Both the museum and the artist need to decide the extent to which this is acceptable and how to handle the interpretation aspect.

The research resulted in a manual which included a reproduction of the installation story. The object inventory was further extended and explored in depth. Additionally, the rights concerning possible reproduction or transformation of the various objects were laid down. The artist provided guidelines for presenting the various items. Finally, the documentation of all the construction scenarios - ’experimentations’ was recorded. These scenarios were analyzed with the installation history. In this way a model came into being which can be used to construct the work of art in the future.

A third party will test out the manual in the future. This way, more references can be collected. Both the S.M.A.K. and Tuerlinckx encourage this mode of operation.