Conserving the present
Four-day study on issues relating to the conservation of contemporary art at Palazzo Brera
One characteristic of art production is the extreme speed with which the raw materials of creativity - often as varied and unlikely as they can be - are altered and, in many cases, destroyed.
A conscious manifesto of this kind of weakness is provided by the glass wools of Piero Manzoni, the organic materials of rural art, such as leaves for Giuseppe Penone or faggots for Mario Merz, and the plastic materials of Piero Gilardi or César. An equally significant challenge comes from complex and composite installations, which take their surrounding environment as an integral and mandatory factor for their existence through an innate dialogue with it, and — once dismounted and re-mounted to change their position — are constantly reproduced with different space morphologies.
Even "traditional" works based on canvas and colours — such as those by Lucio Fontana or Alberto Burri — are often produced with new synthetic pigments and industrial fixatives, which require alternative conservation solutions other than the ones used for old items.
The problem of how to conserve art works is key to understand how to best protect the heritage of our present, which will once represent our time. The analysis of new materials and their degradation mechanisms, the critical debate on how to approach complex art works, and the need to share expertise among specialized operators are the principles underlying this convention, which also takes place with the generous contribution of UniCredit Private Banking. Organized by the Historical-Artistic and Ethnoanthropological Heritage Service of Milan, in cooperation with the INCCA (International Network for the Conservation of Contemporary Art), and with the support of the General Directorate for the quality and protection of landscape, architecture, and contemporary art and AXA Art, the conference includes 4 days of study dedicated, respectively, to paintings of a synthetic origin, installations, plastic works, and videos.