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Our work is reproducing itself: duplication in action

mardi 03 janvier 2017

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The agency has acquired several high-performance acquisition systems. The most recent investment is a high resolution scanner.

Technological evolution

Constantly evolving technological support is improving the reproduction of colours and the finest details daily. Ultra-high definition immerses us in the work.

The agency has acquired several high-performance acquisition systems. The latest investment is a high resolution scanner with LED lighting, free from UV and infra-red. This lighting is adjustable and allows us to convey the pictorial material, the thickness of the ink.

A number of images have been produced for a range of museums and institutions: 12 volumes of the Diderot and d’Alembert encyclopaedia, copper plates, engravings, daguerreotypes, prints…

Heritage Memory Photography

In the 19th century, photography was viewed as the mechanical reproduction of reality. If that seems to disqualify it from artistic expression completely from the outset, it is nevertheless more suited to preserving traces of heritage. It is the imprint, the mirror image of the world. The precision of the daguerreotype, and the richness of tone of paper based processes allows us to document and archive, before and after the restoration, degradation or loss of the works. A perfect example is the Heliographic mission of 1851 that brought together several of the great names from the history of photography under an initiative of the Commission des monuments historiques, in order to document some of the major national artworks prior to a restoration project. More recently, following the earthquake in Assisi in 1997, a restorer who found Giotto’s frescoes crumbling onto his shoulders had an urgent need for more precise information before he could restore them. Photography is of invaluable and faithful assistance when studying the continuity of artworks.

Duplication and archiving in binary code 01. Restoring to view. A new era for artwork with technical reproducibility

In a short text from 1936 that has since passed into posterity, philosopher Walter Benjamin set out the terms for a dialectic relationship between the original artwork and its photomechanical reproduction. It is true that, in the contemporary era, the wealth of museums and the general public’s confirmed taste for culture as conveyed by their visits to artistic places, museums, private institutions and commercial art fairs, mean that the “auratic” dimension of artwork remains an ongoing concern. But unless you are a collector, this aspect is only transitory, lasting the duration of a visit. Reproductions of artworks remain the most accessible means of prolonging the aesthetic experience.

Nevertheless, the digital revolution has caused upheaval and considerably amplified the effects of such reproducibility. If the conservation aspect of reproduction in relation to the original work still remains entirely relevant, limiting the risks inherent in manipulation and digitisation through the removal of the original image medium has pushed that same medium into a state of flux, where the transmission, you could even say the flow, no longer has any limitations.

Object work / image flow would seem to be the new form of the dialectic. To which we must add the social practices and behaviours based on sharing and transmission in real time, through applications or networks designed for this purpose that have led to an explosion in the circulation of images of artworks.

But it is sometimes necessary to restore the reproduced artwork to a new medium. The binary code thus becomes fine drops of ink that give birth to a new item that once again becomes tangible and displayable. Several modern prints have been produced by the photo agency, for museums and exhibitions, in order to preserve certain works from repeated exposure to light.

 

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