Call for Papers „Restored with the best intentions“

Zeit:21. - 22.November 2019
Ort:Royal Library | Brüssel

Call for Papers: Colloquium APROA-BRK, 21th and 22th of November 2019 „Restored with the best intentions“. The 10th colloquium of the APROA-BRK will be held the 21th et 22th of November 2019 at the Lippens Auditorial at the Royal Library of Belgium in Brussels.

The deadline for abstract proposals is the 11th of February 2019. The contributions should be in close link with the theme of the colloquium.
The preferred languages of the colloquium are French and Dutch (with simultaneous translation in either of both languages). Contributions in English are also welcome (without translation).
The abstracts (half an A4 page) should be send to : marjanbuyle(at)hotmail.com
The proposals will be evaluated the 18th of February 2019.

A work of art or a cultural heritage object is not a blank page. When an object is entrusted to a conservator-restorer for treatment, it already has a long history. Designed and made by an artist or craftsman, the life of a work of art is subject to many vicissitudes. This colloquium is not about the impact of time on a work of art, but focuses on all conservation-restoration interventions carried out over time ‘with the best intentions’. Looking at the reality of the object, understanding what has already happened to it and thinking about current means at our disposal to carry out conservation treatments is the topic of this colloquium. Our own interventions are only a step in the long life of the work of art, a snapshot of its history.

Each conservator-restorer, both now and in the past, works in the context of his or her time, with materials, techniques, former concepts and current thinking. But everything evolves. What once seemed so promising, no longer always turns out to have been such a great choice. Mistakes are made, accidents or unexpected situations occur.

How should we approach these treatments as conservator-restorers? Some materials and techniques have in fact proved detrimental to the preservation of the art work. Some restoration methods were based on incorrect or obsolete precepts, later proven wrong by research and the actual condition of the object. If need be, to what extent can we intervene to remediate the harmful consequences of previous treatments? And when should we consider a previous intervention as part of the history of the object and respect it as such?

Our treatments will also be evaluated by our successors. Even minimal treatment is an intervention, and absolute reversibility might be an ideal worthy of pursuit, but is also an unattainable myth. What are the consequences of today’s interventions for the conservator-restorer of tomorrow?