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Sanneke Stigter, Atelier van Lieshout's Mobile Home for Kröller-Müller: Homespun ideals cracking up

5th Symposium on conservation of synthetic materials - Theory and Practice - Perspectives on polyester, polyurethane and polyethylene, AXA Art Conservation Project, Vitra Design Museum, Weil am Rhein, 29-30 June 2005

Date: Jun 29, 2005

The conservation problems and material history of the outdoor sculptures in the collection of the Kröller-Müller Museum made with glass fiber reinforced polyester will be presented, with a special focus on Atelier van Lieshout’s ‘Mobile Home for Kröller-Müller’, made in 1995, at the starting point of a research project in collaboration with Thea van Oosten of the Netherlands Institute of Cultural Heritage (ICN). According to the ideas of Joep van Lieshout, the creative force behind Atelier van Lieshout, it is clear that his work is meant to be used, as if it were a life and death struggle even. Van Lieshout’s whole oeuvre is designed for survival. The artist’s intention is discussed in relation to conservation ethics and validated to a practical level. The artist’s philosophy, the art making process and the used materials are described as well as the actual meaning of the artwork. The question is raised what the role of the museum actually is; preserving the artwork by safekeeping the original materials in the best possible way or presenting the artwork according to the artist’s initial ideas, thereby sacrificing the original materials but at the same time preserving the artist’s intention?