The artist's intent in contemporary art: matter and process in transition

Quabeck, Nina (2019) The artist's intent in contemporary art: matter and process in transition. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Few topics polarize in a way like ‘the artist intent’ appears to do. In the conservation field, where the term appears to be short-hand for a jumble of artists’ wishes, rights and responsibilities, it has percolated to the forefront of discussion time and again, with outbursts often triggered by conservation controversies, but so far, the profession has not quite come to grips with this unruly notion. Traditionally, the material object in its ‘original state’ served as the primary witness of ‘what the artist had intended’. Contemporary art-making practice, however, often makes enshrining the material object futile, so the primacy of artworks as fixed documents of the creative act can no longer be taken for granted. This thesis consequently sets out to map together changes in artistic practice and those in preservation strategies, as museum staff often actively participates in co-constructing artworks on the installation floor, performing tasks that closely fit the job description of studio assistants. Artworks created in this way are rarely totally developed ahead of time and likely require a certain period of openness and flux in which their identity forms. Thus, authenticity of artworks is no longer necessarily identified with a fixed material entity, completed at the moment they leave their creators’ hands, since artworks conceived with change or even ongoing engagement in mind are the norm rather than the exception. Consequently, artists are increasingly involved in their works’ post-accession life, but their place in the decision-making is often a topic of contention in the context of art institutions. This thesis investigates the blurry frontier of artist intent through studying how artworks’ lives unfold pre- and post-accession and how artists continue to engage with their works, which may act in ways even unexpected by the artist.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Additional Information: Due to copyright issues this thesis is not available for viewing. Access to the printed version will be available when the embargo period expires.
Keywords: contemporary art, conservation, intent, authenticity
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts & Humanities > School of Culture and Creative Arts > History of Art
Funder's Name: European Commission (EC)
Supervisor's Name: Paterson, Dr. Dominic
Date of Award: 2019
Depositing User: Nina Quabeck
Unique ID: glathesis:2019-75173
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 06 Nov 2019 13:57
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2023 16:23
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.75173

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