Exhibition, decision-making and controversy: a case study of Art of Escape (2016) by Ana Vieira (1940–2016)

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In the artist’s absence, a work’s reinstallation can become far more complex as there is no longer a single centralised reference point. Instead, there is a form of distributed memory that depends on the communication and negotiation between the various stakeholders responsible for the work’s conservation. As such, conservators and curators act as part of a larger network of agents, which includes the artist’s estate, gallerists, artist’s assistants, technicians, collectors and others, all with interests and expectations which influence the work’s trajectory. This article discusses the reinstallation of Art of Escape (2016) by the Portuguese artist Ana Vieira (1940–2016). The article asks what is it that makes the work Art of Escape and what does it mean for that work to change? We use Art of Escape to explore the reinstallation process for a work by analysing the perspective of various stakeholders while highlighting the conservator’s role in the decision-making process.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-104
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the Institute of Conservation
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Actor–network theory
  • Ana Vieira
  • Conservator’s role
  • Decision-making
  • Preservation
  • Reinstallation


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