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Female Artists and New Material

Event Label
Organisational Units
Conservation – Restoration
Location Address (1)
Augasse 2–6
Location ZIP and/or City (1)
1090 Wien
Location Room (1)
Foyer, 0.2.3

Based on current restoration projects in the department of Conservation-Restoration of Modern and Contemporary Art, the students have developed an ongoing presentation that deals with the works of various artists who worked closely with new materials and plastics, including Kiki Kogelnik, Birgit Jürgensen and Mária Bartuszová, Renate Bertlmann, Dorothée Golz.

The beginning of the ongoing exhibition will open on October 14 th , 2021 and will be open to the public every subsequent Thursday from 3pm until 6pm.

As a part of restoration and research projects, manufacturing techniques were reconstructed, material analyses were carried out, test specimens and mock-ups and copies have been made in order to develop concepts for long-term conservation strategies. These work processes will be shown in a continuous exhibition, which will be in constant motion, adapting to current projects.

The concept for this exhibition- project comes from a workshop with Charlotte Matter, Material and Gender: A Feminist Discourse on Plastics in Art at IKR.

Charlotte Matter: “In the 1960s and ‘70s an increasing number of artists were using unconventional materials, materials which were not specifically produced for artistic production. Through the usage of such materials, traditional value hierarchies were disrupted. Everyday objects and materials, recycled substances, as well as materials that were considered “cheap” were used with increasing frequency. The patriarchal discourse of this time, but also the subsequent writing of art history, almost always ascribed the latter to the male artist – similarly to how “the worker” was almost exclusively constructed as masculine in the course of the social movements of that time. It was often neglected that numerous female* artists worked with materials such as plastics, neon tubes and aluminum.”

In this workshop at the Institute for Conservation-Restoration in the Department of Modern and Contemporary Art, the seminar group explored the extent to which exhibitions and the art criticism of the time constructed a gender-specific discourse of materiality that continues to shape our perception. Using individual works to discuss the extent to which these new materials could also be filled with new content and thus offering new opportunities for female* or feminist positions.

Charlotte Matter is an assistant professor at the Department of Modern Art History and coordinates the specialized master's program in Art History in a Global Context at the University of Zurich. Her dissertation focuses on plastics in the art of the 1960s and 1970s.