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New Strategies in contemporary art

New Strategies in the Conservation of Contemporary Art.

New Strategies in the Conservation of Contemporary Art is a project conducted in collaboration between the University of Maastricht (UM), the University of Amsterdam (UvA) and the RCE. 

Overview of the installation Drifting Producers of the artistgroup FlyingCity du

Overview of the installation Drifting Producers of the artistgroup FlyingCity during the exhibition PlugIn in the Van Abbemuseum in 2005. © Van Abbemuseum

RCE researchers conducted a PhD project in this context.

Ephemeral materials

Unlike the preservation of 'traditional' art works, contemporary art works are often made of ephemeral materials and media. For example, art works can be of chocolate, steam, grass, light or video.


Conservation strategies in the field of contemporary art are therefore less likely to focus on the material itself, but rather on processes that make future re-installation as authentic and safe for the object as possible. Dialogue with the artist and all persons involved plays an important role, as well as documentation methods and theory about authenticity, dependence on location and changeability of the artwork.

Site specific

As part of this research program (funded by NWO and RCE) Tatja Scholte carried out research on the influence of conservation, display and relocation on the significance of site-specific installations. IJsbrand Hummelen investigated the role of human and technological mediation in the conservation of modern and contemporary art.


The studies of both RCE PhD candidates formed a contribution to the synthesizing publication by program leader Renee van de Vall (UM) on the shifting paradigm in conservation. She laid the emphasis on the dilemmas arising in the conservation of contemporary art and a solution: the development of a 'moral taxonomy' formed by comparing various case studies.

Professional Field

The RCE research took place in collaboration with the professional field; the Van Abbe Museum, Tilburg; Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam; Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, The Hague Municipal Museum and the universities of Maastricht and Amsterdam.