Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties Center for Conservation Science
Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation
Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage

Survey on Conservation and Restoration of Modern and Contemporary Art in Europe

ICN Amsterdam Head Office, Laboratory of Materials. The shelves on the right are full of various plastic products lined up by color. They were collected by researchers at flea markets and other locations.

 As part of the documentary material research promoted by the Department of Research Programming, we performed a survey from August 2 to 13 centering on the Tate Gallery in the UK and Netherlands Institute for Cultural Heritage (ICN).
 Various experimental styles and materials were used for modern and contemporary works of art because recently how those works will be passed down to future generations has become a big issue. With one work, the process of decay itself is an innate part of the work, while with another, new materials, including plastics, are used. These are new challenges for the organizations and specialists engaged in the conservation and restoration of cultural heritage.
 This survey focused on the International Network for the Conservation of Contemporary Art (INCCA; based inside ICN in Amsterdam) and, as a part of the project, the Interview with Artists project performed by Tate in London in which they interview with living artists about their works, archive the records of them and open them to the public systematically. We visited related organizations and listed to relevant personnel in order to find out how Europe is tackling new challenges related to modern and contemporary art.
 As a noteworthy achievement, we got great suggestions on the issue of originality and the conservation thereof, the topic of the international research assembly held last year by the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo. Additionally, we were deeply interested in the relationship between the three parties – ICN (the Netherlands version of the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo), the INCCA network in ICN, and the Tate, Britain, which is shouldering one INCCA project. They were presenting a model of how a new project should be run while confronting the globally-shared difficult situation, such as shortfall in funds, human resources, and privatization of organizations. We will introduce anew the details on this matter in the Bijutsu Kenkyu (Journal of Art Studies) published by the Department of Research Programming.

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