Film and video in Spanish museums: cataloguing and exhibiting conflicts
Dr Mikel Rotaeche González de Ubieta
Professor Ad Honorem, Fine Art College of Universidad Complutense de Madrid,
modern painting conservator at Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia
Poster presented during the conference "Authenticity in Transition. Changing practices in art making and conservation", 1-2 December 2014 Glasgow School of Art, Scotland. Abstract published in the Abstracts booklet, available at: http://www.gsa.ac.uk/media/1267895/Authenticity-in-transition-abstract-booklet.pdf.
Courtesy: Glasgow school of Art, Erma Hermens and Frances Robertson.
Artworks on film are in the core of contemporary art practice. Despite this, their integration to museum collections in Spain has been quite erratic. While video has been exhibited as soon as it has appeared, film has waited almost a century to acquire the status of “artwork” and lose the consideration of document. This difference of management has provoked a poor comprehension of their technical and artistic dimension. This misunderstanding has a real impact on the conservation and exhibition.
The first symptom of this lack of comprehension is the fuzzy vocabulary used to catalogue film and video art. The official catalogues of the 8 main contemporary institutions of Spain show mistakes in the vocabulary selected to describe this kind of Art. It is not an exception, the official thesaurus of the Spanish Ministry of Culture for Film and Video Art has important words missing, as “Frame”, for example. The words have a great importance in the preservation process as they are the first step to define what the artwork is. The piece Tree movie, of Jackson Mac Low, is the perfect case study to demonstrate how this problem has a real effect on the preservation and exhibition of contemporary art.
About the author:
Mikel Rotaeche González de Ubieta is Profesor Ad Honorem, Fine Art College of Universidad Complutense de Madrid, modern painting conservator at Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía and author of “Transporte, depósito y manipulación de obra de arte” and “Conservación de materiales contemporáneos y nuevas tecnologías”, both with Síntesis publishing.