ARTECHNE – Technique in the Arts, 1500-1950


12 April 2018
15:00 - 17:00
Utrecht University, Sweelinckzaal - Drift 21

TECHNICAL ART HISTORY COLLOQUIUM XIX: ‘Materials and Materiality’, 12 April, Utrecht

The Technical Art History Colloquium is organised by Sven Dupré (Utrecht University and University of Amsterdam, PI ERC ARTECHNE), Arjan de Koomen (University of Amsterdam, Coordinator MA Technical Art History), Abbie Vandivere (University of Amsterdam, Coordinator MA Technical Art History & Mauritshuis, The Hague, Paintings Conservator), Erma Hermens (University of Amsterdam and Rijksmuseum) and Ann-Sophie Lehmann (University of Groningen). Monthly meetings take place on Thursdays. This edition of the Technical Art History Colloquium will be organised in Utrecht by Sven Dupré and Ann-Sophie Lehmann, in collaboration with the ‘Materials and Materiality’ course by Onderzoeksschool Kunstgeschiedenis (OSK).

Presentations will be held by Francesca Bewer (Harvard University) and Hanna Hölling (University College London). Download the invitation here.

Casting New Light on Old Bronzes: Matters of Interpretation

Dr. Francesca G. Bewer, Research Curator for Conservation and Technical Studies Programs and Director of the Summer Institute for Technical Studies in Art, Harvard Art Museums

Gazing at bronze sculptures, one could imagine them to have sprung forth, perfectly formed and finished from an artist’s hand, much as Athena is said to have emerged from the head of Zeus. Indeed, traces of the making process are most commonly removed or concealed. But we shall see through a closer look at a diverse sampling of works that they preserve all sorts of clues to the complex translations and transformations that are involved in their production and that bronzes continue to undergo over time. How one might identify such evidence and make sense of it will be discussed as well.

The Medium of Time and Transition

Dr. Hanna Hölling, Lecturer in the History of Art and Material Studies, University College London

“The essence of the medium is time,” maintains the American Video artist Bill Viola referencing artistic video. He continues “Its basic underlying characteristics are change and transformation … The medium unfolds itself in time.” Taking this statement as a point of departure for the analysis of intermedia on the intersection of art theoretical, historical and conservation discourses, my presentation examines how the affirmation of the transitoriness of artworks offers a fruitful ground to scrutinise this portion of cultural heritage which refuses fixity and stasis. Using examples of video, film, and multimedia, I will argue that the legacy of intermediality not only challenges the established rhetoric of material authenticity that for a long time dominated conservation and the museum collecting and exhibiting practices but it also radicalises time. Time, here, becomes an indicator of these works’ identity.