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Review: Seminar in Modern Art Conservation in practice: different ways of decision-making for the conservation of modern and contemporary art by Lydia Beerkens

This three-day seminar focused on the theory and practice in conservation of modern and contemporary art. Major topics were addressed: decision making, ethics and aesthetics, the role of the artist through a varied selection of cases from the studio practice including topics as plastics conservation, preservation of Installation Art, The Artist Interview as a tool, and conservation approaches for ArtePovera, Zero artworks and Outdoor Painted Sculptures.

The seminar was well attended by a mixture of young and mid-career conservators, as well as those caring for collections, all specialising in the conservation of modern art. The international group of nine participants, with very different backgrounds, discussed the issues presented in a vivid and lively manner. Lectures, discussions, and on-site visits were the main components of the three days.

The highlight of the seminar was the studio visit to Ton Boelhouwer (The Hague, 1960) where participants were able to put the Artist Interview methodology into practice. Ton paints in oil on metal supports. He explained how he applies the paint to the support flat on the floors (floors), as well as standing upright (walls) and how these ‘floors and walls’ together with the ‘negative space’ they include, work for his large installations, was openly discussed by the participants with the artist.

The third day we focused on sculptural techniques. Large as well as outdoor sculptures with a guest lecture by Nikki van Basten. The seminar ended with a short walking tour in Ceramique where a diverse collection of outdoor artworks can be found, from traditional bronze to painted concrete.

Seminar review: Modern Art Conservation in practice
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