Curating Archives, Archiving Curating

Yiakoumaki, Nayia. 2009. Curating Archives, Archiving Curating. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

ART_YiakoumakiN_2009.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

Download (20MB) | Preview

Abstract or Description

This thesis investigates the concept of archives and their role as a source for
curatorial work practice. It starts with an examination of Jacques Derrida's
concept of the archive in order to claim that every reading of the archive alters the
archive. It examines the curating of archive material and compares it to a
historiographical operation upon the archive itself. Moreover, it describes
curating from the archive as a process concomitant with the three main
constituents of Paul Ricoeur's historiography: 'The Documentary Phase',
'Explanation/ Understanding' and 'The Historian's Representation', as
developed in Memory, History, Forgetting (2004).
From the conceptualisation of this tripartite process the thesis proceeds by
arguing that the curatorial practice on archives is an expansive gesture that
opens their contents to numerous interpretations. The Whitechapel Gallery
Archive is introduced as the case study here. More specifically, the thesis
analyses archival material pertaining to Pablo Picasso and the painting Guernica,
which was exhibited at the Whitechapel Gallery in 1939. The series of events to
which this archive material refer, have been reactivated through artist Goshka
Macuga's 2009 commission The Nature of the Beast at the Whitechapel.
The thesis proves that a curator working through archival material permanently
alters the constitution of the archive, as well as the subsequent interpretations of
its material. Moreover, it is argued that the curator's intervention in the archive
should be re-deposited within it as a means for the archive's potential expansion.
Through the sustained process of curating archives and the successive rearchivisation
of curatorial practices, the thesis presents the case for a powerful,
self-reflective instrument of analysis.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Additional Information:

The image appendices are unavailable due to copyright restrictions, they are present with the physical copy available in person from Goldsmiths Library

Departments, Centres and Research Units:




Item ID:


Date Deposited:

14 Dec 2015 14:00

Last Modified:

08 Sep 2022 11:35


View statistics for this item...

Edit Record Edit Record (login required)