Permanence in Contemporary Art – Checking Reality
A seminar was held November 3 and 4, 2008, arranged by the National Gallery of Denmark in collaboration with The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Copenhagen, Denmark and supported by the International Network for the Conservation of Contemporary Art - INCCA.
The Conservation and Curatorial Department at the National Gallery of Denmark and the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Schools of Visual Arts, was organisers of an international seminar Permanence in Contemporary Art - Checking Reality addressing various critical issues surrounding the preservation and exhibition of contemporary artworks in November 2008.
The seminar, which encouraged interdisciplinary exchange between museum professionals including conservators, art historians, artists and others, and took place in conjunction with "Reality Check", a exhibition at the National Gallery of Denmark. "Reality Check" acted as a thematic springboard for the seminar, addressing issues related to content, material, time, exhibition and context exemplified by works in the exhibition. The seminar encouraged participation and dialogue by curators, artists and conservators alike.
The seminar aimed to contribute to the growing international professionalism and awareness associated with the preservation, installation, documentation and exhibition of contemporary artworks. The meeting provided a forum for discussing crucial questions regarding authenticity, permanence/impermanence, artistic intent, reproducibility, and longevity of artworks – issues which illustrate the paradox into which contemporary art is situated, where the idea of preserving the ‘authentic’ original material is perhaps in distinct opposition to the original concept of the artwork. Or where conversely a literal acceptance of ideas of flux and instability inherent in certain works may compromise the existence of the original material object.
Also the conservation and curatorial concerns relating to time based works and installations, which are especially challenging, were addressed.