A Passion Flower in The Museum Building Considerations for the Conservation of a Performance Artwork with a Material Component
The thesis investigates and discusses performance art within a museum context and from a conservator’s perspective. It is done by the case study of a performance artwork entitled The Passion Flower, created by the Swedish artist Ingela Ihrman in 2017. The artwork consists of a performance where the performer is wearing a hand made costume representing a passionflower, interacting with an audience. The Museum of Modern Art in Stockholm acquired the artwork in 2019. The acquisition included both the material component of the costume as well as the right and possibility of reactivating the performance. The study present questions on how conservators should approach such a work and what conservation strategy that can be formulated for The Passion Flower. By studying literature on conservation of contemporary art, performance art, and performance art within a museum context, a theoretical framework is formulated. From the theory it is argued that the conservation of performance art mainly consist of documentation and reactivation of the “live” act. The study of The Passion Flower is both based on the examination of the costume and video documentation of the performance, as well as an extensive interview with the artist Ingela Ihrman. The examination of the costume and the video documentation revealed that when the performance happens, the costume will rapidly deteriorate as it is made of fast degrading materials and is exposed to physical forces by the interaction with the people in the audience. The artist interview gave seminal information about the artwork as well as the artist opinions on deterioration and conservation of the costume. By considering the many parameters of the work and the interrelationship between the costume and the performance, two different conservation strategies are presented depending on how the artwork will be displayed within the museum building.
Degree project for Bachelor of Science in Conservation 2020, 180 HEC Second Cycle 2020:35