Access 2 Contemporary Art Conservation (11th June, 2010)

Posted on Tue, 03/16/2010 - 11:33
International symposium Contemporary Art: Who Cares?, 2010
Parallel session
Access 2 Contemporary Art Conservation
Date, time
Friday 11th June, 10:00-12:00
Juha van 't Zelfde and Michiel van Iersel
Non-fiction is an office for cultural, urban and technological innovation, founded by Michiel van Iersel and Juha van ‘t Zelfde in 2008, providing cutting-edge ideas and activities. Based in Amsterdam, it is a collaborative vehicle for making things public and bringing together public and private interests in the field of spatial and cultural strategies, new media and the arts.
Lúcia Matos, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Belas Artes
  Click here to download session summary
During the successful Inside Installations exhibition in Kröller-Müller Museum in 2006-07, the visitor was given a unique ‘behind-the-scenes’ look into the working practice of the conservator of modern and contemporary art.  Visitors witnessed a conservator at work on an installation in the exhibition room. This approach is just one of the many ways to educate the public about the conservation of contemporary art.  Multi-media and internet technology are also often used by museums to create visitor tours or online learning courses. It would seem however that (whatever the chosen medium) issues on the conservation of contemporary art are not often dealt with. This is an interesting fact given that when such issues are made accessible, the public’s understanding and appreciation of the artwork increases. Participants of this session will learn about how organisations (in and outside of cultural heritage) are using new media and emerging technologies to engage with audiences. In addition, the guest speaker will discuss how their museum has attempted to educate the public on issues of conservation of contemporary art. The workshop part will then  focus on how new media strategies can be deployed in the domain of contemporary arts conservation.
Lúcia Matos, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Belas Artes
To exhibit, to touch, to conserve
This presentation proposes to consider the temporary exhibition as an opportunity to reinvent new strategies for contemporary art survival.  Using a curatorial initiative as a case study, it suggests that the concept of the viewer’s engagement that is central to much of contemporary art production can be usefully extended to the context of the temporary exhibition while considering conservation issues.
Sculpture of Portuguese artist Carlos Barreira (b. 1945) articulates traditional materials with technology incorporating movement and sometimes sound.  The artist has strong convictions about how his work should be presented and insists that since movement is central to its meaning and depends on active participation of the viewer, visitors must be allowed to touch the pieces.
The paper discusses issues related to preservation of meaning versus physical conservation of works of art in the context of a temporary exhibition and analyses strategies to ensure an active yet responsible collaboration of the public with the artist leading to a more rewarding aesthetic experience and understanding of both conceptual and conservation issues raised by the work.
Lúcia Almeida Matos is Assistant Professor of Art Studies, and director the Graduate  Programme in Museum Studies and Curatorship at the Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Porto.  Her research interests are centred in the documentation of production, display and reception of modern and contemporary art and is currently advisor of several PhD thesis on these subjects.  She is also head of the University of Porto art collection and has organized and curated solo and group exhibitions.