Inside Installations


The project Inside Installations. Preservation and Presentation of Installation Art was a three-year research project (2004 - 2007) into the care and administration of an art form that is challenging prevailing views of conservation. It was funded by the European Commission, Culture 2000 programme.

Inside Installations was coordinated bij Netherlands Institute for Cultural Heritage (ICN, Amsterdam), and co-organised by Tate, London; Restaurierungszentrum der Landeshauptstadt Düsseldorf; Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst, Ghent; Foundation for the Conservation of Contemporary Art (SBMK, The Netherlands); Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid.

The Inside Installations project asks: How can we safeguard artists' installations so that they can be experienced by future generations? For contemporary art museums this is a key question as they struggle to address their responsibilities in relation to an art form which is significantly different to traditional objects.The complexity of installations calls for a greater interdisciplinary approach in their conservation, production and installation, drawing on a wide body of expertise. This is a new area for conservation and collections management and one which is ideally suited to a collaborative approach in the development of guidelines and models of good practice.

The Inside Installations project consisted of 3 main parts which are geared to each other in organisation and content:

1. Thirty-three complex installations (many multimedia) were re-installed, investigated and documented (see Artists and Artworks).

2. By sharing their experience project participants worked together to develop guidelines and tools within five research themes: preservation, artist participation, documentation, theory & semantics and knowledge management & information exchange (see Research).

3. Over the three-year period 6 events (seminar/workshops) were organised and a considerable amount of knowledge was captured and can now be shared via the project website (see Events and Lectures).

The case studies on artists’ installations brought about a wealth of research results on specific cases and practical guidelines. In order to develop ‘good practice’ and recommendations for the broader research themes of the project a matrix structure was applied - forming a liaison between the case studies and the 5 main research themes. Each co-organiser was responsible for case studies of their partners as well as for one of the research themes. The project’s themes gave also direction to the events (seminars and workshops) which were organised by the co-organiser responsible for it. 

Inside Installations has inspired many in their daily work and research activities. It also contributed largely to the ‘community building’ which started in 1999 with the start of the International Network for the Conservation of Contemporary Art (INCCA). In fact, the initiative for the project came from INCCA founding members and there remained a strong relationship with the INCCA group. In this new and challenging field of conservation it is of crucial importance to collaborate and to exchange expertise and experiences. Inside Installations has proven the benefits of this.

Events at ZKM

Karlsruhe Seminar/workshop Documentation of Installation Art (1 & 2 December 2005)
The third »Inside Installations« event was a workshop organised by project co-organiser Restaurierungszentrum Düsseldorf. Held on 1st and 2nd December 2005 the meeting was kindly hosted by the Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie (ZKM) in Karlsruhe.
The main subject of the seminar was the documentation of installation art. Contributions by the German partners focussed on measuring techniques and documentation strategies applicable to complex installations and their time-based elements movement, sound and light. Additional papers presented by guest speakers dealt with the accessibility and management of knowledge on installation art. A model designed by the German partners for the documentation of installation art was presented and critically discussed.
Finally a discourse on the term installation provided an introduction to the next project meeting on Theory and Semantics of Installation Art on 11th and 12th May, 2006 in Maastricht.
On day 2, a workshop on documentation was held for project partners.


· Instituut Collectie Nederland (NL)
· ZKM | Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie (DE)
· Board of Trustees of TATE Gallery (UK)
· Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia (ES)
· Restaurierungszentrum der Landeshauptstadt Düsseldorf (DE)
· Stedelijk Museum voor de Actuele Kunsten - S.M.A.K. (BE)
· Stichting Behoud Moderne Kunst (NL)


EU-Förderprogramm: Kultur 2000