Giacomo Biagi

Immateriality Matters. A Purchase Case of American Conceptual Art in the Federal Republic of Germany

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The essay starts from a presentation of the very first Conceptual Art exhibitions held in Switzerland and in the Federal Republic of Germany at the end of the Sixties. The aim is to present the main way the dialectic between materiality and immateriality, inherent to the movement so labelled, was shown. The first outlook is useful then to deal with a sale case of works by Robert Barry, Douglas Huebler, Joseph Kosuth and Lawrence Weiner, acquired in 1978 by Gerhard and Elisabeth Sohst, collectors of Conceptual Art in Hamburg. The case study allows to address the specific issues and problems that arose in acquiring this kind of works, and to re-discuss the materials and methods of a movement which has contibuted substantially to a renegotiation of the formal and poetic terms of art making. It will also be an opportunity to shed light on a German collection, mainly dedicated to Conceptual Art, and to investigate the acquisition strategies that led to the purchase taken in exam.

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