IZBLIZA / UP CLOSE Preservation, Protection, and Conservation-Restoration of Contemporary Artworks


IZBLIZA / UP CLOSE Preservation, Protection, and Conservation-Restoration of Contemporary Artworks

28.05.2024 - 25.08.2024 / MSU, 3. kat

The exhibition Up Close offers a new approach to modern and contemporary heritage. It presents visitors with a “behind-the-scenes” look at the processes of research, protection, and conservation-restoration of selected works from the holdings of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Zagreb (MSU), the Museum of Modern Art in Ljubljana (MG+MSUM), the Božidar Jakac Gallery in Kostanjevica na Krki, and the Vasko Lipovac Atelier in Split.

The conservation-restoration work on modern and contemporary art is complex and dynamic. It includes collaborators from different fields as well as communication with the artists; however, museum visitors are rarely ever given insight into this process, even though its results are present at nearly every exhibition.

The conservation-restoration profession has been given the great privilege of direct physical contact with artworks and the possibility of entering into the process of their creation, while the work on modern and contemporary artworks requires much more than just a technical understanding of the materials they are composed of; one should also understand the broader context of an object, its material and spiritual structure. The results of such studies contribute to the interpretation and understanding of modern and contemporary artworks, the meaning of which is often quite difficult to penetrate without guidance and instructions.

This exhibition will highlight interesting research and interventions, but also seek to bring closer the ethical issues and challenges of protecting artworks made of unconventional materials. It is also adapted to vulnerable groups, and therefore the technological studies and accompanying materials are accessible to touch, allowing all visitors to feel the artwork by touching it, which is not part of a standard visit to museum exhibitions. Furthermore, sound interpretations of selected works will enable a fuller experience to people who are blind or visually impaired.

The conservation-restoration of modern and contemporary art is not a routine process. All of the procedures presented at this exhibition reveal the diversity of approaches and, thanks to their interconnectedness, facilitate the understanding of the problematics covering the period from the early 20th century to the present day. The works at the exhibition include those by J. Knifer, G. Gnamuš, M. Ujević Galetović, V. Lipovac, G. Stupica., R. Jakopič, and others.

Up Close is a years-long project created through cooperation between Croatian and Slovenian museums and universities. It is the result of a longstanding collaboration between three institutions: the Academy of Fine Arts and Design of the University of Ljubljana, the Museum of Modern Art in Ljubljana, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Zagreb. A number of partner institutions have also participated in the project, including the Restoration Centre – Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Slovenia, the Forensic Science Centre Ivan Vučetić in Zagreb, and numerous museums and faculties from the scientific and artistic fields. The project has been made possible by the dedicated work of students and their mentors on the exceptionally interesting materials, with the aim of opening up new worlds and new experiences of viewing the modern and contemporary artworks inherited by museums.

The exhibition Od blizu / Izbliza / Up Close was held in a somewhat different form between November 2022 and April 2023 at the Museum of Modern Art in Ljubljana, and was awarded the Valvasor Prize for Outstanding Achievements in 2022.

Exhibition concept and creation: Mirta Pavić (MSU, Zagreb), Tamara Trček Pečak (ALUO, Ljubljana), Nada Madžarac (MG+MSUM, Ljubljana)