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Museums increasingly collect installation art. Often complex, these works raise many questions about their conservation management.

Madelene berkhemer

Madeleine Berkheme's installation for the new shop of shoe-designer Christian Louboutin in Miami. Photo: Elizabeth Renfrow for BizBash

Artists can use perishable or ephemeral materials. Due to the multifacetness of the components, guidelines are necessary for re-installation and digital media elements must be converted to new formats. The 'voice' of the artist is essential to this process.


The research towards a sustainable approach to installation art has developed strongly in recent years and extends across several disciplines: from engineering to significance, from documentation to object-based research, from museum display to collaboration with the artist. Theory and practice are tightly knit in the conservation and presentation of contemporary art. Hence research is positioned on the intersection of practical situations, methodology and thought.


The results of the projects under the topic of Installation Art were realised by national and international collaboration, which have reinforced the International Network for the Conservation of Contemporary Art (INCCA). Other countries (including Italy, Spain and Portugal) follow the manner in which research is coordinated in the installations field by the RCE and Stichting Behoud Moderne Kunst (SBMK) [Foundation for the Conservation of Contemporary Art].


The methodology for artist interviews and the documentation of installations is widely used in professional practice and by students, and is available through various publications, both printed and online. Case studies provide an extensive overview of the research questions and applications of the research. Several case studies have provided subjects for testing the methodology for collection risk management.