Research on preservation strategies
creator(s) TATE, London
contributor(s) S.M.A.K., Ghent, MNCARS, Madrid, Foundation for the Conservation of Contemporary Art (SBMK), ICN, The Netherlands

The nature of Installation art is distinct from traditional art, as it is wholly dependent on display for its realisation. An installation is more than a collection of physical objects but often includes relationships to the space and dynamic behaviours. It is crucial to establish a full description of the state of an installation in order to understand the significance of the component parts to the installation as a whole. Only then can appropriate preservation strategies be developed and evaluated. The conservator’s preservation activity follows this shift away from a unique material object to an installed event. Conservation has moved beyond minimising change in a physical object to a broader mission to enable the installation of the work in the future according to the artist’s intent and the historical character of the work.

Research focus
The research for Preservation took as its focus two main themes:
Firstly, the use of risk analysis as a tool for developing conservation plans which addressed the complex needs of artists’ installations.
Secondly, the exploration of the shifting role of the conservator and curator in response to the preservation and presentation of artists’ installations.

Click download for pdf ‘Risk assessment for installation art’ and pdf ‘The shifting role of the conservator’

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