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Between Humans and Other Things: Conservation as Material Fabric in Contemporary Art

Author(s): Cecilie Gravesen

Journal: Journal of Conservation and Museum Studies
ISSN 2049-4572

Volume: 10;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 3;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Keywords: Contemporary art | Conservation | Ethnography

The text considers the role of the artist observer in scientific research, by using examples from the author's recent artwork in which conservation constitutes the material fabric. Gravesen employs an anthropological view on the museum conservator grappling with objects that are considered to be imbued with a spirit, and views the schism between a scientific approach and a transcendental belief system as emblematic for the bigger question as to how we currently deal with the legacy of colonialism on western ground. The author subscribes to a view of 'spirited' objects as imbedded agents in the ethnographic museum, enabling change on a social and cultural level, and suggests artistic license as a facilitator for an understanding of the living presence of objects that is beyond the idea of metaphor or representation.
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