The Arts and Archaeology

Archaeologists do not discover the past – they work on what remains. Archaeology is about our relationships with what is left of the past.

Many artists have explored this modern fascination with remains, with time and memory, the persistence and presence of the past:

Anselm Kiefer’s canvases and sculptures that witness the way material pasts cling to the present, inform and color;


Anselm Kiefer at Barjac

Christian Boltanski’s collected assemblages of the archival traces of lost twentieth-century lives;

Andy Goldsworthy’s works-in-the-land that recreate prehistoric monumentality.

And so many more.

With Mike Pearson and Ian Russell I am preparing an introduction to this extraordinary connection for Routledge.

I have always adored the company of artists – my wife Helen works in ceramics (see some of her wonderful work here [Link – Helen Shanks]. I have had the privilege of working with some amazing talents – notably Brith Gof, Lynn Hershman Leeson, and the members of the Presence Project.

For my theatre/archaeology with Mike Pearson see [Link]


Helen Shanks


Christian Boltanski


Andy Goldsworthy

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