Call for Papers Colloquium APROA-BRK 2017: Choices and dilemma in conservation-restoration

The 9th colloquium of the APROA=BRK will be held the 23th et 24th of November 2017 at the Lippens Auditorial at the Royal Library of Belgium. The deadline for abstract proposals is the 10th of February 2017. The contributions should be in close link with the theme of the colloquium. The preferred language of the colloquium is French and Dutch (with simultaneous translation in either of both languages). Contributions in English are also very welcome (without translation). The PowerPoints of all the communications should be in English. The abstracts (half an A4 page) should be send to: Este endereço de email está protegido contra piratas. Necessita ativar o JavaScript para o visualizar.

We also welcome posters (5 minutes presentation).
The proposals will be evaluated the 13th of February.


Conservator-restorers are constantly faced with choices. They are multiple and belong to various fields, starting with the implementation of a project, the degree of possible intervention or the most suited intervention for every work of art, up to the choice of techniques and materials to be used.

Among the technical choices arises the dilemma between traditional materials and new materials. Considering the pros and cons is part of the daily work of a restorer, often having at his disposal advanced research, which sometimes lacks clarity, and the hindsight of so called miracle products of the past showing sometimes disastrous consequences.

Ethical choices are equally very complex. The choice of treatments may not be the sole reasonability of the restorer, who is mainly guided in his decision making process by the needs of the object to be restored. What happens if other stakeholders, such as the client, the government, the architect, the entrepreneur who has hired the restorer, the museum management, make a different choice? Other points such as the function of the work of art or its change of use, the scale and duration of the intervention, the budget and the financing, the status or prestige of the work of art, the customer's specifications, the nature of the object (ephemeral and perishable art, temporary installations).

Which are the dilemmas the today's conservator-restorer is confronted with? How are they different from those of the past? What are the gains and losses of a certain choice? What are for example the implications of revealing an original polychromy which means the loss of one or several non original polychromes and therefore a part of the history of the object. Removing overpaints or later additions on paintings and mural paintings is an irreversible act.

Presentations and discussions of choices and dilemmas faced by professional conservator- restorers may be a good occasion to reflect together on this essential actions which should constitute the foundations of conservation treatments.

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