Sara Callahan
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Art and research are connected in three distinct ways in the years surrounding the turn of the twenty-first century. Artists are compared to researchers in terms of the methodology they use and the themes they investigate, and artworks visually resemble research activities or research results. During this period there is also a significant increase in studio-based PhD programmes, which means that artists literally become academic researchers, incorporating their practices within the broader university system. The chapter consider the overt and implied assumptions involved in comparing the artist to a researcher. Artists’ use of text and their interest in marginal and mystical figures are analysed through specific works by Tacita Dean, Simon Starling and Joachim Koester. They are shown to mobilise a notion of historical research in part driven by chance, serendipity and a kind of mystical connection to historical figures or events, while also continuously pointing out that they are themselves unreliable narrators or that the facts they deal with are uncertain. The chapter ends with a discussion of artworks that use the index and footnote as forms of academic research and referentiality.

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Art + Archive

Understanding the archival turn in contemporary art


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