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2016 Tyler Research Project

Tyler Research Project

The University of Tasmania is committed to develop and open the Tyler Collection to a wide audience. The terms of the generous Tyler Fund which accompanied the Gift include support for Romanian students, artists, or art scholars to visit the university and contribute to the expansion of research. With this in mind, the initial Tyler Visiting Scholar Research Project was developed. 

Several broad aims were identified – to establish our foundational knowledge of the Collection, to develop a better understanding of its potential as a teaching and learning resource, identify themes for future cross-discipline research, and to garner this information in order to make further acquisitions and identify collection management strategies.

Dr Alexandru Popescu, Senior Research Associate of Balliol College, Oxford University, was invited to work with the Research Project. In July 2016 Dr Popescu, curator Rachael Rose, and the Collection patron, Frances Tyler, visited Romania to commence the research work. A highly-productive time, it included interviewing artists Geta Bratescu, Silvia Radu and Stefan Caltia in their studios, all of whom are represented in the Tyler Collection. Contact with academics from University of Bucharest, and artists/lecturers from University of Art/Design in Cluj-Napoca laid the basis for further collaboration, and visits to national museums, galleries and monasteries gave context to the era and place in which Geoffrey Tyler spent so much time. Importantly, meeting with Dr Raluca Papagheorghe – Mariana Petrescu’s niece – provided much background detail to Corneliu Petrescu’s character and working life as an artist.

In Hobart over a six-month period, Dr Popescu researched the artworks, icons, library, and letters archive, and helped to explain the politics and social context of the collection. A thorough understanding of the geopolitics and cultural history of Romania, including Byzantine, communist, and post-communist eras, will enable future researchers to interpret the value and context of material in the Collection.

The next stage of the Research Project will be to launch the repository containing this material for a global audience. This will contribute to development of the recently-established contacts in Romania and expand academic networks in Australia, UK and US. It will also grow research areas for study opportunities, student exchanges, and teaching programs. Following on from Dr Popescu’s initial research, it is hoped there will be further exploration of several aspects, including the life work of Corneliu Petrescu, themes of resistance through culture, and politically subversive art.

The future for the Tyler Collection is exciting with a conservation management schedule, exhibition, and post-graduate projects all in the planning stage. It is envisaged that this will honour Geoffrey Tyler’s wishes that the artists represented in his Collection are better understood and seen by a wide appreciative audience.