Conservation and restoration of contemporary art is a complex field of expertise. It considers both tangible and intangible characteristics of artworks that can range from synthetic materials, electronic media, and digital components, but also variation, interactivity and performance. It is never about unambiguous objects, a single material, or a fixed form.
The complexity of contemporary art requires an open mind and reflexive attitude with the contemporary art conservator. Analytical curiousity, mental flexibility and practical accuracy are key. This includes the skill to acquire specialist knowledge from different fields of expertise, and the ability to translate the information into practical work.
Students are trained by working with real artworks from museum collections, when possible in consultation with the artist and museum professionals. They combine conservation theory and conservation practice to develop the required skills and appropriate attitude of a critically reflective practicioner. Conservation of contemporary art challenges students to think outside the box and to come up with practical solutions to complex problems.
As of the academic year 2019-2020 new students can follow a complete learning line in Time Based Media Arts conservation within the contemporary art specialisation. An NWO Comenius Teaching Fellow grant has made it possible to design a core module on Media Arts Conservation as part of the curriculum. The outlines were presented during the TBA Symposium: It's About Time! at the New York University in 2018 (see the presentation below).
Our students have been involved in many projects, of which the links below will give an impression.