Conserving Impermanence

Richard Dalby Downing

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


The sunflowers of Vincent Van Gogh are wilting. Chemical reactions within the pigments are turning the famous, vibrant yellows to autumnal browns. The disease appears to be terminal; it can only be delayed by shutting the paintings in a cool environment and darkness something, indeed, akin to the tomb. In this paper Richard Downing will discuss temporality in relation to art, and consider the problems and potential of impermanence as an aesthetic property. Drawing upon the Japanese aesthetic sensibility of wabi sabi as an optic, Downing will refer to a range of artistic practice, including his own work in progress, The Butterfly Man; a work for which metamorphosis and transience are key elements in a piece which aspires towards a monumental fragility. This paper will, itself, be presented as a conservation (DVD) in the absence of the author.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2011
EventSharing Conservation Decisions - National Library of Wales
Duration: 23 Jun 201124 Jun 2011


ConferenceSharing Conservation Decisions
CityNational Library of Wales
Period23 Jun 201124 Jun 2011


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