Theory & semantics
One of the most challenging theoretical (and practical) issues of contemporary works of installation art is the notion of ‘the original’. Because installation works are often produced for a site-specific context, it gets extremely difficult to define ‘the original’, entailing questions such as: What is essential to determining origins and authenticity of the work? What parts of it should be preserved, transformed or re-created? How to identify the ‘original’ work when reproducible media are involved, such as video, and the artist is using (parts of) the original work in future editions? Evidently, the complex notion of ‘the original’ already is and will become increasingly relevant for collectors, as well as for conservation, curatorial and collection management tasks in museums and art institutions.
These and other question were addressed in lectures of the Maastricht seminar (which was dedicated to Theory and semantics) and in a few publications by the project participants.
Another problem is the lack of a ‘common language’ to describe installation art. As with contemporary art in general, new concepts are being introduced and new ways of thinking are developed rapidly. This ‘sliding semantic scale’ presents a challenge to the international conservation community which recognises the need for exchanging knowledge and information. From this perspective the Inside Installations Glossary has been developed during the project.
The Inside Installations Glossary consists of around 100 terms. Each term has been provided with quotes selected from current literature on the preservation and presentation of installation art.
Access the following pages by clicking the title
Research on Theory and semantics
Glossary Inside Installations (link to micro-site)
Conservation Strategies for Modern & Contemporary Art
Restoration Theory Applied to Installation Art