This is me. This is also me: The Artist’s Archive as Self-Portrait

Amy Furness, Rosamond Ivey Special Collections Archivist, and Head, Library & Archives, Amy.Furness@ago.ca

Georgiana Uhlyarik, Curator, Canadian Art, and Co-lead of Indigenous + Canadian Art Department, Art Gallery of Ontario, Georgiana.Uhlyarik@ago.ca

This session brings together scholars, curators, archivists and artists to discuss critical issues in collecting, documenting, researching and presenting artists archives (fonds). Specialized collections, whether in rare book university libraries, art museum libraries or private foundations, house and make accessible materials, records and documentary traces of the artist’s life and creative activity. The personal fonds as it enters the institutional sphere is shaped by archival practices that reflect the theoretical literature of archival studies, an institution’s collecting practices and priorities, and contemporary aesthetic trends. These bundled and boxed materials are as varied, ranging and diverse as the artists themselves, and may appear incomplete, edited, idiosyncratic, and even haphazardly compiled—sometimes by someone other that the maker. They are nonetheless—in their accumulation—a form of long-duration, cumulative self- portraiture revealing nuances and complexities over time.

We are seeking proposals from across cultures and disciplines that investigate the processes entailed by archival transfer from private working space (the artist studio, home, etc.) into an institutional, publicly accessible collection and how this relocation impacts and frames the artist’s archives as a self-portrait. We are particularly interested in case-studies and methodological propositions that address the complexity of the artist’s creative and intellectual engagement with ideas of archives, evidence and memory, the artist studio as living archive, messing up notions of truth, fiction, autobiography and authenticity. This session will bring together models which articulate, formulate and implement new frameworks and theoretical propositions, as a means to broaden established traditions and re-centre art, artists and their voices.

Information about the speakers and papers on this panel will be posted shortly. 

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