Visual Intelligences Research Project

Symposia : The Documentation of Fine Art Processes and Practices

  • The Lancaster Institute for the Contemporary Arts, Lancaster University
  • 2nd December 2005
  • 9.30 – 5.30 Conference Centre, Lancaster University

"Artists … have learned to tread cautiously when it comes to reporting the internal events that produce their works.  They watch with suspicion all attempts to invade the inner workshop and to systematise its secrets. "
[Arnheim, The Genesis of a Painting: Picasso's Guernica, 1962:1]

This symposium addresses an important current issue facing fine art researchers, drawing together work researchers in the field of fine art throughout the UK.  The idea for it has arisen out of LICA:Art’s Visual Intelligences Research Project, that has been set up to investigate the way visual artists think and make and, most importantly, the relationship between their thinking and making. 

The documentation of creative processes is a problematic area for research. Artists often work alone and documenting this process can be felt to alter or impede the relationship between artist and work. However, work is emerging in relation to practice based research in the visual arts and there is a developed dialogue regarding performance and documentation.  Shifts in thinking about art have led to artists' processes becoming more available to a public, for example artist-in-residence schemes often stipulate showing 'work in progress'.  Recent technology has increased the types of documentation possible and our familiarity with the notion of being observed.  The symposium will look at studies that have used different strategies of documentation and focus on how documentation can be used creatively within a fine art practice.