Out of Storage

Route 5: In and Out of Storage

This route takes you behind the scenes of the Out of Storage exhibition. It follows the work of the caretakers and explores the artworks on their journey from in to out of storage.

The conservation of contemporary artworks presents collectors with great challenges. If you regularly visit exhibitions of modern or contemporary art, you must have wondered at some point how artworks are preserved when they are made from aging, transient or vulnerable materials such as plastic, food and glass. How do you present film and video art when the equipment that is used to show it wears down and is not available anymore? But also: what does it mean for an artwork when it was designed for a specific space and later re-installed in a different environment? How do collectors deal with these ‘instable’, transient artworks? Which decisions are made, why, by whom and what are the consequences of all this for the artwork?

Artworks are usually presented as original, unchangeable objects. However, the short biographies that are brought together in this route show that activities such as acquisition, storage, transport, installation, presentation, conservation and restoration affect the life and the meaning of an artwork. In some cases, they even lead to great changes to the artwork. The route focuses on practices of conservation that usually take place behind closed doors and shows how backstage and front stage are irrevocably connected.

The route is compiled by students and researchers from the Faculty of Arts and Sciences of the University of Maastricht: Julia Bevilacqua Alves da Costa, Juri-Apollo Drews, Cyra Pfennings, Vivian van Saaze and Renée van de Vall.

Otto Berchem, Do You Know? 2011