The special challenges in the conservation of contemporary art

In contemporary art, the techniques and methods of representation of the visual arts are expanded many times over. Traditional modes of expression such as painting or sculpture are only a small part of the possibilities.

There is installation art with light and movement, kinetic art, sound art, performance art, monumental ensembles made of cement-clay mixtures or huge sculptures made of plastic. Ephemeral art, walk-in worlds made of recycled “waste”, digital as well as interactive and media-based art, and much more. The same applies to the materials used. One encounters a range of different plastics, the synthetic, organic polymers and their very specific ageing behaviour. Everyday objects become objects of art and Josef Beuys’ “Stuhl mit Fett” was already one of the most prominent works of contemporary art in the 1960s.

The conservation of contemporary art confronts the conservator with complex tasks and problems that can often be discussed and solved in an interdisciplinary way, e.g. in conversation with the artists or other experts.

As a conservator, I am always happy to take on individual challenges and solutions and can draw on broad knowledge of the techniques of traditional work as well as new methods from the practice of contemporary art conservation.

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