Christophe Lemaitre, La vie et la mort des œuvres d’art, Tombolo Presses, 2016
A collection of stories and of theoretical texts focusing on the modalities of existence of artworks, starting with a collection of items that used to be works of art.
The Life and Death of Works of Art acts as an extension to the 2014 eponymous exhibition at Cneai (Chatou, France) and the panel discussion organized at Treize (Paris, France) in November of the same year. This book, starting with a collection of items that used to be works of art but no longer are, focuses on various material and perceptible continuities crossed by the definition of a work of art. More generally it raises a number of issues on the ontology of the work of art: how does a work of art inscribe itself in the material continuity of the object that contains it and surpasses it? How does the lifespan of a work of art within its object then surpass a human being's lifespan? Which reasons and which practices govern the conservation and preservation of an artifact? The Life and Death of Works of Art starts where the artworks ceases to be, to find interest in what it becomes. The artist and restorer's mutually overlapping figures, technological chimeras, biological entities substituted inside the work of art for preservation purposes, museum-targeted reconstitutions, hyper restoration, physically or chemically reconfigured artworks—these are all examples making up the landscape of this book.
Texts by Christophe Lemaitre, Petra Lange-Berndt, Gregory Buchert, Le Bureau/, Paul-Hervé Parsy, Nathalie Leleu, Amelia Groom.