Archaeology and the imaginary: crossroads between science and art

Archaeology and art find themselves at the convergence of human knowledge and experience. Thus, archaeology is often archaeology of the art and art history is often based on archaeology.

The archaeological themes such as the past, the remains, the landscape, the disappearance, the monumentalization etc. are currently present everywhere within the contemporary art field. As for the archaeologists, the renewal of their profession and methods lead to the creation of new research fields and social interactions. Therefore, the artistic medium interests the archaeologist and vice versa.

Indeed, the artistic and the archaeological object rely on the same function: testimonial. Both are vestiges, one of the artistic creation, the other of the human activities. Thus, a connection can be found between the exploration methods of both disciplines, the search for the buried and for meaning, the revealing of the core through its margins. An unsuspected richness can be revealed when combining these two universes, the one of the reflection and the one of the materialization of the discourse on the past and on humanity.

From the richness of this creative confluence have emerged the various paths that the NEARCH network wishes to explore, namely:

• A reflexive, imaginary and materialized vision of archaeology
• An innovative story telling of the past accessible to all audiences
• The acknowledgement of the artistic as a real link within a research process

The result is a creative interaction between contemporary art and archaeology. Not in view of showing what the contemporary artist ’makes’ out of archaeology, but with the aim to create a productive dialogue between archaeologists and artists.

For this purpose, two major Contemporary Arts Centers have joined the NEARCH partnership: the Jan Van Eyck Academie in Maastricht and the CENTQUATRE Art Centre in Paris.