Spaces that evolve and the artist's intent. Integrity in public art conservation.

Annette Suleika Ortiz Miranda, Ruth del Fresno Guillem, Rita Amor Garcia

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Integrity is neither fixed nor static - It is understood as a process of interpreting, respecting, and negotiating complexity, and at times, also contentious values. In Art, integrity is a reflection of the artwork’s identity, the meaning and significance of the artwork for the artist and to the public. In conservation, this tends to be present as aspects as reversibility, respect, and conceptuality are taken into account during the assessment and treatment of works of art. Especially, in contemporary art, the artist's idea plays an essential role in the development of any proposal related to the artwork’s preservation.
Additionally, in Public Art, the concept behind the artwork is closely linked to the factors that made the artist create the artwork in a specific moment, location, etc. However, contemporary cities evolve by the moment, producing many works of public art lose their integrity as the environment oppresses its continuity while the spaces transform with new functions. Therefore, the artist's intent, and the integrity of the artwork, are sacrificed in order to preserve the piece in a new environment.
Focusing on the case of Keith Haring’s mural interventions, our paper will aim to discuss cases where the necessity of preservation had deactivated the artwork’s intent. The mural Haring painted for sick children at Necker-Enfants Malades Hospital in Paris is an example. The hospital was moved due to safety issues. Later on, the mural was restored. Despite the impressive work done by conservators, there are aspects that seem to have been disregarded: Did Haring foresee this possibility-change? Would he agree on the conservation of the artwork for a wider/new public? Does conservation sometimes deactivate integrity in favour of preservation? Would it be possible to balance both statements?
Publikationsdato8 jun. 2021
StatusUdgivet - 8 jun. 2021
Begivenhed49th Annual Conference in 2021: 2021 AIC/SPNHC Joint Virtual Annual Meeting - Online, USA
Varighed: 10 maj 202124 jun. 2021


Konference49th Annual Conference in 2021