Carolin Bohlmann Former Senior Fellow

Carolin Bohlmann
December 2018 - March 2019


Conservator of modern and contemporary art at Hamburger Bahnhof - Museum für Gegenwart Berlin. PhD in Art History on painting techniques. Research focus on conceptions of light in painting, art technology and conservation theory. Conservator at documenta 10, Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg; since 2000 at Hamburger Bahnhof - Museum für Gegenwart - Berlin. Exhibition projects on the preservation of contemporary art. 2013 restoration of Joseph Beuys "Richtkräfte für eine neue Gesellschaft" (1974-76), in the exhibition rooms of Hamburger Bahnhof (published 2015). Exhibition series Marzona A-Z (2014 - 16 at Hamburger Bahnhof). Conception and organization of the symposium "Process art and the Museum" at Hamburger Bahnhof 2016 with Angela Matyssek

Dated from 2019

Fields of Research

The intersection of art history and conservation; materiality in modern and contemporary art and media

IKKM Research Project

Questioning Material and Immateriality

Object biographies strive to trace the “history” of a work of art by consulting all the information that pertains to it and its origins. My project focuses on documenting how materials have been inscribed during the course of their respective reception and conservation histories.
Conservation, as a practice, normally aims to preserve an artwork’s “identity”. It also seeks to enable the realisation of various authentic installations of works in the future. For a significant amount of contemporary art, however, the notion of authenticity, based on material evidence and supposition – that something is real, genuine or unique – is less relevant than a work’s conceptual identity.
Many objects in museum collections are collected and preserved as hybrids, whose authenticity is confirmed but not questioned.
With the increased use of fragile, transient materials in modern and contemporary art, it has long become apparent that it no longer suffices to just question the works, their ideas and their histories. Instead, wide-ranging discussions and networking between the different authorities and institutions involved are needed, so as to be able to attain a more precise understanding and consequently, to develop appropriate means of handling works of art both physically and immaterially.
Conceptual and installation art, as well as the use of exhibition replicas, are primarily based on agreements that dictate their preservation, reinstallation and remaking. This project takes into account aspects of works that cannot be traced through the material, and materiality that cannot be produced. Like the documentation of object histories, the task of conservation is to continually investigate, negotiate, document and apply material information especially that which is hard to trace or explain.
Using various case studies as examples, I would like to carry out inquiries into works by Carl Andre, Robert Morris, Bruce Nauman and Charlotte Posenenske. Through artist interviews I will present the works’ various practices of reproduction and remaking, as well as formulate strategies for their conservation.

Selected Publications

„Vergänglichkeit für die Ewigkeit. Zur Konservierung moderner und zeitgenössischer Kunst“, in: Paragrana. Zeitschrift für Historische Anthropologie 2018 (in print)
„From Action to Object. On the Preservation and Conservation of Performance Art Relics“, mit Ina Hausmann und Eva Riess, in: Journal of the Institute of Conservation, 2018 (in print)
„E wie Erhalten – ein Blick hinter die Kulissen“, in: Marzona A-Z, Hg. Lisa Marei Schmidt, Berlin 2017 , n.p.
„Punkt, Punkt, Komma, Strich – zu Dieter Roth“, mit Beate Söntgen, in: Satzzeichen, Hg. Helga Lutz, Nils Plath, Dietmar Schmidt, Berlin 2017, 347-356
Notes on Materiality. Shrunk and shrivelled, in:, 2016
„Spuren sichern. Vom restauratorischen Umgang mit Werkspuren bei der Konservierung der 100 Bildtafeln aus der Installation Richtkräfte einer neuen Gesellschaft 1974-77 von Joseph Beuys“, mit Eva Riess, in: Beiträge zur Erhaltung von Kunst- und Kulturgut des Verbandes der Restauratoren, Heft I, 2015, 17-28
„Maltechnische Aspekte der Lichtmalerei. Zur Materialität des Lichts“, in: Handbuch der Forschungsgruppe Lichtgefüge, Berlin 2011, 10-22
Lichtgefüge in Kunst und Naturphilosophie des 17. Jahrhunderts – Rembrandt und Vermeer, Hg. Carolin Bohlmann, Thomas Fink und Philipp Weiss, München 2008
„Tintorettos Lichtgeister“, in: Der unbestechliche Blick. Festschrift zu Ehren von Wolfgang Wolters., Hg. Martin Gaier, Bernd Nicolai und Tristan Weddigen, Trier 2005, 387–393.
Lichtgefüge des 17. Jahrhunderts, Kritische Berichte, Themenheft 4, 2002, Hg. Carolin Bohlmann, Thomas Fink und Philipp Weiss
Ein Wandschirm von Pierre Bonnard und seine Restauriergeschichte, Hg. Carolin Bohlmann und Katharina Henkel, Köln 2001
Tintorettos Maltechnik. Zur Dialektik von Theorie und Praxis, München 1998