3 September 2021

In this twist on our regular ‘Resident’s Room’ feature, our current fellow-in-residence takes us to her office at Tate to introduce the work she has been doing in the museum’s collection.

“My time in London as Brooks International Fellow at Tate is coming to an end. Since May this year I have been in-residence at Delfina Foundation while working as a fellow in the Collection Management team at Tate. As the remit of my fellowship is about the ways museums acquire, lend, preserve, and manage their collections, I decided to focus my research on four works in Tate’s collection, all of which pose interesting challenges to museum practices in terms of their display and preservation. Some such challenges may arise from the fact these four works are all part of editions (ie. not unique works) ­­– so raise the issue of how they can be displayed consistently across institutions that hold the same works; all are responsive in some way to the context in which they are exhibited; and all contain elements which either entail a certain level of complexity to be preserved or which need to be specially sourced to be displayed.”

“During my fellowship, almost every morning I have made the 20-minute walk from Delfina Foundation in Victoria over to the Tate offices on Millbank to read the existing documentation on the artworks and to have meetings with the Tate staff involved in the acquisition, previous exhibiting and care of these works.”

“The four works I am focusing on are all by Latin America artists, namely: Sandra Gamarra (Peru, 1972), Oswaldo Maciá (Colombia, 1960), Juan Downey (Chile, 1940-US, 1993), and Helio Oiticica (Brazil, 1937-1980). During the course of the fellowship I have been organising and hosting case study meetings dedicated to each of these works, attended both by Tate staff and by colleagues from other institutions whose collections also contain editions of the works, including Centro Botín, Daros Latinamerica Collection, Museo de Arte de Lima, Museo Reina Sofia, and MoMA. The discussions have revolved around the institutions’ experiences and knowledge about the works, including their collection care and management practices. The idea has been to have a straightforward and honest exchange around the challenges, uncertainties and best practices for the preservation and displaying of these works.”

“Tate has three locations in London – Tate Britain, Tate Modern and Tate Store (staff only). Most of the time I have been working from the Displays Registrars office in the Clore Gallery. The Clore Gallery is located to the East of the main building of Tate Britain. Inaugurated in 1987 it was designed by James Stirling to host and exhibit the Turner Bequest Collection. I really like this building. It is very eighties in style and I like its contrasting colours, the geometrical forms of its architectural details, and the friendly and cozy environment of the offices inside. Its external public entrance (pictured) is currently closed and visitor access is from the Clore link from the main building. This makes the building almost hidden today.”

“When moving between Tate’s facilities in London I use my Tate pass to take the boat to go between Tate Britain and Modern, but I also enjoy it when I need to take the Tate Bus to go to Tate Store: Paul is the bus driver and we’ve had such nice conversations. I am amazed by how the colleagues who I have been in touch with so far are committed to the museum’s mission, and also kind, generous and fun. I am convinced that Tate is not only a world-class museum for its great collection and exhibitions, but also because of the people who work there.”

Fernanda D’Agostino Dias (Brazil) is a fellow-in-residence at Delfina Foundation over spring and summer season 2021. Fernanda was selected from an open call for The Brooks International Fellowship Programme, which enables international visual arts professionals including programmers, researchers and curators to work with Tate colleagues in London whilst being in-residence at Delfina Foundation. This programme is supported by the Elizabeth and Rory Brooks Foundation.