Installation art is an evolving, often ephemeral medium that defies rigid categorization. It has also radically transformed the concepts of space, time, and the experience of art. The conservation field is faced with unique challenges over how best to manage and preserve the essence of these works. How detailed can documentation get? When does the replacement of original components become acceptable? How does the field cope with the obsolescence of certain technologies? By exploring the questions and dilemmas facing those who care for art installations, this book intends to raise awareness and promote discussion about the various conservation approaches for these works.
This volume is the English edition of the first book published in Italy to address the history and conservation of installation art. With an introduction by noted art historian Germano Celant, it includes essays by museum director and art historian Marina Pugliese—tracing the evolution of this art form, beginning with the experimental exhibitions of the early twentieth century—and by contemporary art conservator Barbara Ferriani, who addresses the problems associated with the assembly and installation of these works as well as their re-presentation and conservation. Other expert contributors address the specific nature of video installations, the role of interviews with living artists, and tools and techniques for documenting ephemeral works of art. The second part of the book is dedicated to specific installations by artists such as Mario Merz, Anselm Kiefer, and Bill Viola, whose works exemplify this unique art form.