Performing the Paradoxes of Intellectual Property - Cornelia Sollfrank

The irresolvable paradox of intellectual property has a long history, however due to the technological, economic, legal and cultural developments that have taken place since the mid-1990s, it has taken centre stage within the ‘information society.’ Whilst the notion of property helps to borrow legitimacy from the quasi-natural right to material property, its enforcement increasingly conflicts with another central category of the knowledge economy: creativity. Where creation and innovation rely on access to and the use of protected works, proprietary rights stifle new creation and innovation. Therefore, particularly art practices that are based on the use and re-working of pre-produced and copyrighted material bring into effect the paradoxes of intellectual property. Sollfrank explores and performs these paradoxes in her practice-led research, using the famous Warhol Flowers as an exemplary case.


Cornelia Sollfrank is a postmedia conceptual artist and researcher and writer. After her training in Fine Arts at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich and the University of Fine Arts of Hamburg (1987-1994), she started to explore the worldwide communication networks by transferring artistic strategies of the classical avant-gardes into the digital medium. Against the backdrop of gender-specific and institution-critical approaches, Sollfrank has continued the anti-modernist challenging of authorship, authenticity and originality in the digital environment and considers appropriation to be a central strategy of digital cultural production. This also led to her research in the field of copyright and art. In 2011 Sollfrank completed her practice-led interdisciplinary research at Dundee University, Scotland, and published her PhD thesis with the title Performing the Paradoxes of Intellectual Property.