Exhibiting the Ivor Davies Archive of Destruction in Art

Exhibiting the Ivor Davies Archive of Destruction in Art: an exploration of curatorial processes in presenting historical performance art in the Museum, through observation, case studies and practice".

Research by Judit Bodor

Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, this is a collaborative doctoral research project with National Museum Cardiff and Aberystwyth University, supervised by Prof Heike Roms (Theatre, Film and Television Studies) and Dr Jacqueline Yallop (English and Creative Writing) from Aberystwyth University and Nicholas Thornton (Head of Modern & Contemporary Art AC-NMW).

This practice-led enquiry in contemporary curatorial practice investigates the afterlife of historical performance as it enters the Museum. Focusing primarily on processes of reinterpretation and remediation it explores how the curatorial approach, the artist’s intention and the institutional context together produce exhibitions as temporary space-time frameworks within which historical performances are experienced in museums. The research combines the analysis of existing theories and practices in Performance, Media and Curatorial Studies with curating-as-research in developing Silent Explosion: Ivor Davies and Destruction in Art.

Amongst the research outputs key is the presentation of Ivor Davies’ 1968 performance, Adam on St Agnes’ Eve, represented in the form of both a multimedia installation and as reimagined by another artist.

These outputs, as well as other aspects of the exhibition will be discussed in the seminar series Exhibition Matters, curated by Bodor to reflect on the exhibition and explore wider issues of presentation and preservation of historic performance art including questions of authenticity, authorship, materiality and archives.

Exhibition Matters seminar series

This seminar series focus on the transformation that artworks undergo upon entering the Museum. It explores the exhibition as a collaborative process between researchers, museum staff and the artist and focuses specifically on the challenges of the conservation, curation and continuation of Davies’ destructive art, in some cases nearly 50 years after their creation. The seminars are suitable for both professional and general public interested in questions of materiality, authenticity, and authorship in contemporary art and in museums.

Judit Bodor is an independent curator, researcher and educator currently based in Cardiff. She works with archives, galleries, museums and universities and has held positions with Artpool (Budapest), East Street Arts (Leeds), Dartington College of Arts and York St John University. Her areas of expertise include artists’ archives, collaborative practice, event-based curating and residencies. Recent projects include Studio Jamming with Ganghut (2014), Three Points of Contact (GSA Exhibitions and The Exchange 2014) and Market of Hidden Labours with John Newling (2013). A trained art historian and curator, she has degrees from Eötvös Loránd University and Dartington College of Arts. She is currently a visiting lecturer at the MFA Fine Art at Cardiff College of Art and Design and AHRC-funded doctoral researcher at National Museum Wales for Aberystwyth University.

Ivor Davies exhibition logo strip