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Conservation and restoration of contemporary art is a complex and challenging field of expertise. It deals not only with modern materials, new media, and innovative art forms, but also concerns working with artists, curators, and other museum professionals. A sound theoretical basis, combining traditional conservation ethics and new conservation strategies, allows for a reflexive approach while working with contemporary artworks in practice.
Contemporary art conservation. Photo: Wim Ruigrok.
Contemporary art conservation. Photo: Wim Ruigrok.

From Plastics to Conceptual Art

The training programme offers specialised workshops on all kinds of artist materials, conservation techniques, and research methods. The focus can be on modern paints, plastics, conceptual work, or time-based arts, and may include strategies to preserve intangible features, such as variation, interactivity, and change. Students work with artworks from museum collections, assessing their manifestations in relation to the concept, context, history and possible future, by using a cross-disciplinary approach. Combining scientific analysis, artist interviews, and empirical research allows for careful decision-making, leading to a suitable conservation strategy, which will subsequently be carried out under the guidance of professional conservators in the studio or at the museum.

Specific subjects linked to larger research projects are included in the programme in the form of a workshop, a thesis subject or internship project. Likewise, participation in conferences and expert meetings is encouraged to introduce the students to the International Network for the Conservation of Contemporary Art (INCCA) as new professionals in the field.

Students in contemporary art conservation can choose for a complete learning line in Time Based Media Arts conservation, as part of their specialisation in conservation of Contemporary Art.