The collection of artworks from the international artistic movement known as Copy Art at the International Museum of Electrography – Cuenca Center for Innovation in Art and New Technologies (MIDECIANT) is currently made up of more than 4500 physical (object-based) pieces. These were made using the machines, technologies and electro-photographic reproduction processes that were first known popularly as xerox copies. Later they came to be known as photocopies when, in the 1980s, the Xerox company was forced to license their patent portfolio and lost control over the exploitation of these mass reproduction technologies.
The pieces in the collection span the entire range of the movement, from the 1960s until the late 20th century when photocopiers began to be replaced by the digital printers that were peripheral devices to personal computers.
The collection includes the many types of processes and techniques artists were experimenting with and developing around the use, or reflection on, these new technologies for graphic reproduction.
It was the Copy Art collection that launched the International Museum of Electrography (known at the time as MIDE) in May of 1990, thanks to donations from significant international collections, both public and private. Notable among these are the pieces that came from the First International Copy Art Biennial organized by the Fort Studio-Gallery in Barcelona in 1984, and the Second International Electrography and Copy Art Biennial organized by the Valencia City Council in 1988.
From the time it opened, MIDE provided artists, professors and researchers with a permanent studio for the creation, experimentation and investigation on the possible creative uses for these new technologies of the day, thanks to the collaboration and support of the company Canon España. It was due to the artworks produced in the studio itself that MIDE was able to expand its collection (along with later donations) to its current size of more than 4500 pieces. All of these have been stored, classified and digitalized following the standard international protocols required for the preservation of cultural heritage.
In addition, this Copy Art collection is rounded out with ample documentation and archival materials, as well as audiovisual documents (videos, fanzines, DTP projects, series and catalogs). There is also a specialized library that features the most representative titles from throughout the history of this international art movement from its origins to present day. The library, which is owned by MIDECIANT, is open to interested and specialized members of the public and can be accessed through the Main Library on the Cuenca campus of the University of Castilla-La Mancha.