Sanneke Stigter, To replace or not to replace? Photographic material in site-specific conceptual art
14th ICOM-CC Triennial Meeting 2005 Den Haag, 11-16 September 2005
Date: Sep 15, 2005
To replace or not to replace – that is the question for two works from the collection of the Kröller-Müller Museum by two conceptual artists who worked a lot with photographic material: Joseph Kosuth and Ger van Elk. The question of replacement is not only asked because of degradation of the photographic material, but it actually refers to the concept of the installations. Both case-studies are still subject of investigation as part of the research project: ‘Inside Installations: Preservation and Presentation of Installation Art’. The focus of this talk will be on the case of Joseph Kosuth and the installation matters of One and Three Glass, dated 1965. In this installation ‘glass’ presented in several ways: by the material itself in the form of a large glass plate, by language in the form of the dictionary definition of glass (through a photographic reproduction technique called Photostat), by image in the form of a photograph of the same glass plate in the installation. The artist calls this an ‘object definition’. With these kind of works he seeks to ‘de-objectify’ the object in art. Kosuth wanted to present art as an idea, without any reference to materiality, let alone a personal touch. Nothing in this installation is carried out by the artist himself – it is only the concept that is created by the artist.