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Stoupathis Konstantinos / The distance between the authentic artwork and the authentic meaning

Natasa Biza, “Dexion 245 – 268”, photo: Christos Simatos

Natasa Biza, “Dexion 245 – 268”, photo: Christos Simatos

The distance between the authentic artwork and the authentic meaning: the beliefs of four contemporary artists about the ageing of their works, considering possibilities for future conservation

Stoupathis Konstantinos

Art conservator/museologist, Greek Folk Art Museum

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:
Courtesy: Glasgow school of Art, Erma Hermens and Frances Robertson.



The recent report of dissertations of four graduates of the Athens School of Fine Arts tends to raise the issue of the ageing of the artwork΄s materials and wear, as an integral piece of the artwork. Through these four case studies, the value of the original, ephemeral and authentic artwork, will force conservators to face ethical dilemmas and decision-making problems in order to conserve them. The speaker tried through interviews to conclude:
1) If they want their projects to experience natural wear/ageing over time (for reasons of authenticity)
2) If the replacement of worn parts (by replicas) finds them opposite (for historical reasons)
3) If the damage to the work is a result of their personal experience, and how they face it as a) pretentious or b) an ongoing wear.

The conclusions raise big conservation problems about ageing, as, the interaction between the materials used, the quality of (recycled/readymade or handmade) materials or the consequences of the environmental climate to the artwork. The last factor, may reveal artists’ lack of knowledge upon issues of preventive or energetic conservation. Things the artists could not manage from the very first moment of the creation of the artwork, but would expect from a qualified conservator to do in the near future.

About the author:
Konstantinos Stoupathis is a Conservator of Antiquities and works of art with postgraduate studies in Museology. He works for the Greek Ministry of Culture, at the Greek Folk Art Museum of Athens (Conservation Dept). He has taught Art Conservation at The Technological Educational Institute of Athens, The Technological Institute of Zakynthos, Public Schools (IEK) and also in Educational Programmes about conservation at Greek Folk art Museum. In recent years he deals with announcements concerning contemporary art and museology.