Lectures by Sven Dupré and Jenny Boulboullé at ‘The Work of Art: Material and Technology in Sources and Workshop Practice’ conference, 31/05-02/06/2017, Bern University of the Arts
On Wednesday 31 May, Sven Dupré will give a keynote lecture titled ‘Failure and error in artisanal writings’. On Thursday 1 June, Jenny Boulboullé will give a paper on ‘Making manuals in the arts. The “Mayerne Manuscript” – a case study’
Ever since Pamela Smith’s study of the epistemic content of early modern art and the importance of workshop knowledge for the genesis and reception research on workshop processes and knowledge practices has proliferated and led to a new, more nuanced understanding of the materials, tradition and esteem of artistic labour. This new appreciation of art is based on an in-depth study of artisanry. Its processes were passed down as applied knowledge in the form of traditions and secrets, and are largely lost today. In sources, in manuals, workshop books, representations of workshops and not least in the work of art itself, however, practical knowledge about materials and processes can be traced and reconstructed.
The SNSF research project “New Approaches to Art Technological Resources in Text and Image” at the Bern University of the Arts is working within the research area “Materiality in Art and Culture” towards an interdisciplinary approach to early modern sources in the field of art history as well as in preservation. In addition to the art historical evaluation and interpretation of sources the project aims at the transfer of source-based research into current conservation practice. The symposium focuses on new art technological resources in text and image and in particular the relevance of these sources for art history and conservation-restoration. Starting from a process-oriented approach to and through the work written sources and illustrations are examined in regard to material knowledge and workshop practices. Of special interest are the importance of pictures and illustrations and the reception and adaption of written sources.
How do we arrive at a deeper understanding of historical practices, of practical artisanal knowledge? How can we assess the significance of sources, texts and drawings for the production of materials and works of art? Central questions of the symposium are: How were manuals and written sources designed to attract and instruct their audience? How were workshop secrets safeguarded and revealed to specific readers, and how obscure instructions adopted, checked, and changed?