curated by Isabella Villafranca Soissons

This unprecedented research explores the world of contemporary art and of those who produce, preserve, exhibit, collect and protect it.

The "Mestieri d’Arte" series presents an original theme developed in partnership with Open Care - Servizi per l’Arte, an Italian company specialised in the preservation, promotion and management of artworks and artistic heritage. Open Care – Servizi per l’Arte’s headquarters are in Milan, in the historical industrial complex of “Frigoriferi Milanesi”.

The book’s fascinating theme is introduced by its curator, Isabella Villafranca Soissons, Director of Open Care’s Department for Conservation and Restoration: To speak of restoration in relation to contemporary art could almost appear as an oxymoron, what Horace would have called a callida iunctura.”

As this volume clearly and extensively explains through numerous examples and accounts, in the 20th century artists started to use an infinite variety of non-traditional materials, combining them in a vast range of expressive languages, often openly challenging and provoking tradition. The materials used in contemporary art are subject to wear, rust, mould and insects, and they fade, ferment, discolour and dry up.

Thus the restorers’ intervention becomes essential and their task, which is often problematic and experimental, requires a great deal of creativity and technical expertise. The book introduces the exceptional experience of those who produce, preserve, exhibit, collect and protect contemporary art.

The book also presents a significant number of case studies related to the conservation and restoration of contemporary artworks. The final section is dedicated to Italy’s most outstanding restoration institutes, the flagships of international art conservation.