[artinfo] Preservation and Presentation of Installation Art (EU project)

Karen Baldock karen.baldock at ICN.NL
Sat Apr 16 16:27:03 CEST 2005

European project: Preservation and Presentation of Installation Art

June 1st 2004 marked the start of a new three-year research project on the
preservation and presentation of installation art, supported by the
European Commission’s Culture 2000 programme. The project is coordinated
by the Netherlands Institute for Cultural Heritage (ICN) and co-organised
by five other European organisations: TATE, England; Restaurierungzentrum
Düsseldorf, Germany; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Spain;
Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst, Belgium and the Foundation for the
Conservation of Contemporary Art, The Netherlands. Each co-organiser
collaborates with national partners (mainly museums) bringing the total
number of organisations participating to around 30. This project is one of
the initiatives of the International Network for the Conservation of
Contemporary Art which exists since 2002 as a platform for exchange of
knowledge and information.

Over the past ten years installation art has become a mainstream art form
representing some of the most important and exciting art of our time.
Contemporary artists are producing installation works that are entering
the collections of European museums and institutions at an increasing
rate. Installation works of art are prominent at all major international
contemporary art festivals in Europe, such as Documenta in Germany and the
Venice Biennale.

The nature of installation works of art is distinct from traditional art
objects. Works incorporating time-based media, such as audio-visual &
electronic media, net.art or performance are understood in terms of their
behaviours as much as their component parts. These works often anticipate
an active involvement by the spectator (interactivity) and evoke a multi-
sensorial experience (sound, vision, touch and smell). These works are
often created for site and time specific occasions, and demonstrate
specific vulnerabilities both in terms of the contexts and technologies on
which they are dependent.

This project asks - How can we safeguard these expressions of our
contemporary visual culture so that they can be experienced by future
generations? For contemporary art museums this is a key question as they
struggle to address their responsibilities in relation to art which
differs significantly in its nature from earlier forms. These works are
seen as complex and expensive and present new challenges, not only with
respect to the production processes and artistic intentions, but also in
the (re)-presentation and preservation once they enter a museum
collection. In order to be able to display these works in the future it is
important to understand what is important to preserve and where the risks
and vulnerabilities lie. Installation works of art require a greater
interdisciplinary approach in their conservation, production and
installation, drawing on a wide body of expertise. This is a new area for
conservation and collections management and one which is ideally suited to
a collaborative approach in the development of guidelines and models of
good practice for European museums.

Investigation will take place on important aspects such as, preservation
of complex installations, documentation of installation art and vocabulary
needed to describe works, their presentation in the museum environment and
a virtual environment like the internet as well as, how this knowledge and
information can be shared through a professional network such as INCCA.
The research will be based on 30 case studies of installation works in the
collections of participating museums. From the framework of case studies
good practice and tools will be developed under five main topics:

1. Preservation Strategies
2. Artists’ Participation
3. Documentation & Archiving strategies
4. Theory and Semantics
5. Knowledge Management and Information Exchange

All 30 case studies will be presented to the public at some time during
the three-year period. The project results (tools and good practice) will
be shared with the conservation community through seminars planned
throughout the project. Information on the case studies and project
results will also be presented on the INCCA and TATE websites, accessible
to both professionals and the general public.

Partners in this project have collaborated successfully in two previous
European projects: Modern Art: Who Cares? (1997, 1999) and INCCA (1999-
2002). The results of these projects are now internationally recognised as
milestones in the development of the contemporary art conservation
practice in Europe.

For more information contact karen.baldock at icn.nl or visit www.incca.org


Project coordination

Tatja Scholte & Ysbrand Hummelen & Karen Baldock, Instituut Collectie
Nederland (ICN)/Netherlands Institute for Cultural Heritage, Amsterdam,
The Netherlands



Cornelia Weyer & Gunnar Heydenreich, Restaurierungszentrum der
Landeshaupstadt Düsseldorf

Partners: (Verband der Restauratoren)
Maike Grün, Bayerische Staatsgemäl-desammlungen, Doerner-Institut, München
Ulrich Lang, Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt
Barbara Sommermeyer, Hamburger Kunsthalle
Katrin Radermacher, Kunsthalle Mannheim
Thomas Zirlewagen, Museum für Neue Kunst / ZKM Karlsruhe
Reinhard Bek, Museum Jean Tinguely, Basel, Switzerland
Ulrike Baumgart, freelance, Bonn


Pip Laurenson & Sophie Djian, TATE Conservation Department, London

Associated Partner
Jemima Rellie & Sarah Tinsley & Nadia Arbach, Tate Digital Programmes, London


Frederika Huys & Anne De Buck, SMAK, Ghent, Belgium

Associated Partner
Iwona Szmelter, AFA, Warsaw, Poland
Monika Jadzinska, AFA, Warsaw, Poland


Jorge Garciá & Craig Gordon & Arianne Vanrell 
Vellosillo, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina 
Sofia, Madrid

Cecilia Illa Malvehy, Fundació La Caixa, Barcelona
Silvia Noguer, MACBA, Barcelona
Silvia Lindner, Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao
Maite Martinez, Instituto Valenciano de Arte Moderno, Valencia
José Carlos Roldán, Centro Arte Contemporáneo Andaluz, Sevilla


Paulien ‘t Hoen, SBMK/Foundation for the 
Conservation of Contemporary Art, The Netherlands

Christiane Berndes, Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven
Elbrig de Groot, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam
Ineke Kleijn, Bonnefantenmuseum, Maastricht
Sanneke Stigter, Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo
Evert Rodrigo & Simone Vermaat, ICN Collections, Rijswijk

Associated Partner
Gaby Wijers, Netherlands Media Art Institute Montevideo/TBA, Amsterdam

PhD candidate
Vivian van Saaze, Instituut Collectie Nederland (ICN)/Netherlands
Institute for Cultural Heritage, Amsterdam & 
Maastricht University, The Netherlands

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