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Inherent vice is a term used in museums and art galleries to describe objects that possess unstable internal characteristics that will eventually lead to their deterioration.

Museum handbooks often list three types of inherent vice: short-lived materials, structural nature and history of original function. They deal with issues such as decay, malfunction and impermanence.

In this exhibition, Matthew Couper uses these notions of inherent vice to present a group of works that test and provoke the viewer's attitudes towards gallery conventions.


Conservator working on a fresco at San Marco, Florence, Italy. 2004.