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Students specialising in Contemporary Art in the UvA Master's Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Heritage are working on the conservation of paintings made by local Amsterdam sculptor André Volten (1925-2002), in the artist's former studio, the Poortgebouw of Asterdorp. The project will run up to and including January.

Photo: Evelyne Snijders

André Volten was one of the most successful Dutch sculptors of the second half of the twentieth century and is mainly known for his open-air sculptures, such as the famous 'knoop' ('knot') on the northern bank of the IJ. His paintings are less well-known and are very rarely found in (public) collections.

In preparation for the first exhibition of this work by the André Volten Foundation, the students will work on this project each Thursday up to and including January in the artist's former studio, the Poortgebouw of Asterdorp – a building with an intriguing history. The building was part of a complex that was built in 1927 and functioned as a special housing project for the socially poor. After being used as a Jewish ghetto in World War II, Asterdorp was abandoned. Because Volten refused to leave his home and workplace when the surrounding houses were demolished, the Poortgebouw has survived as the only remnant of a nearly forgotten era in the socio-political history of Amsterdam. 

The two-year Master's programme Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Heritage boasts nine separate specialisations, one of which is Contemporary Art. Within this specialisation, students focus on, among others, modern paints, plastics, conceptual work, or time-based arts, and learn to develop strategies to preserve intangible features such as variation, interactivity, and change. The UvA is the only Dutch university that offers a programme in which students are trained to become conservators that complies with the international standard that is required for conservators according to the European Network for Conservation and Restoration. The programme comprises four years in total, including the additional two-year advanced professional programme.

Photo: Sanneke Stigter