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Due to the unpredictability, ephemerality and changeability of the works of contemporary artists, today’s conservator does more than merely repair and restore works, sticking bits on or replacing elements. Often, side by side with the artist, the conservator takes part in the creative process itself at each stage in its creation or, under the guidance of the artist, reconstructs, re-installs or re-arranges multi-element works, or, on the basis of the existing documentation, recreates works which no longer exist or else takes up any manner of activities that at times seem to have little in common with the work of the art conservator as we know it.

In this section you will find examples of the conservator’s strategies in the broadest sense of the word, illustrated by short films which enable the viewer better to come to grips with the specifics of the job. Unlikely as it might seem at first glance, a conservator is truly indispensable in a museum of contemporary art.



Pure Chance

Here we have an example of the conservator’s activities that do not concern repairing the original, thus venturing beyond the traditional notions of this type of work. On this occasion, the conservator was required to make a replica of an object created by Wolf Kahlen.

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Painted, gilded, trimmed, bent, interwoven, threaded...

The conservation works on Władysław Hasior's Dunia's Friend (1973, assamblage, private collection).

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Snatching the Manure from the Clutches of Nothingness

Conservation of an element of Oskar Dawicki’s installation Walk of Fame (2007).

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Dubbing collages

Technical conservation of three collages by Milan Knížák.

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Washing, hanging out to dry, ironing and polishing

Preparation of the elements of Marek Chlanda’s installation Funeral of a Sardine and their reconstruction.

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Meeting Jerzy Bereś in his studio

Meeting Jerzy Bereś in his studio in connection with the transfer of his works purchased for the MOCAK Collection: Cart (1968) and Rag (1971).

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Gluing a cup with clay and lead

Technical and aesthetic conservation of one of the elements of Matthias Jackisch’s painting installation No Mad Pot Stops to Be Nomad (1995).

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Reconstruction of a shadow

Reconstruction of the installation Apart from the First by Jerzy Kałucki (1996) together with partial conservation of the preserved part of the original.

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Conservation through Devastation

Re-installation of, and the preparation of a substitute base for, the painting installation by Edward Dwurnik Krakow Folk Show us What you’ve Got (2005).

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A Nice Bit of Plasterboard

Reinforcement and stabilisation of the single remaining element of Zbigniew Sałaj’s untitled painting installation (1992).