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This paper will use Bergson’s proposition that an organism can be perceived ‘as a thing rather than as a progress, forgetting that the very permanence of its form is only the outline of a movement* ’ to an object analysis of the artwork in time.
While acknowledging that Bergson did not apply this proposition to objects it can be used as a relevant starting point for the evaluation of an artworks complex relationship to time. Popularly perceived to exist within a state of something approaching permanency the artwork is arguably deteriorating in slow motion once it is made. Using examples from my own drawing practice and others this paper will discuss the implications of the conservation act on an artwork, its potential for ahistoricity, altering the chronological, phenomenologicial and aesthetic timelines of a work. It will pose the question what are the temporalities of an artwork? and how are they to be understood.
Fay, B.: When Is an Artwork?:Bergson’s Progress and the Art object. The Perception of Change: Space, time, and mobility after Henri Bergson:One Day Symposium, Mansfield College Chapel, University College, Oxford, Friday 27th May 2011.