The FRAC team ensures the proper conservation of its artworks on a daily basis. In the reserves, the Head of Collections oversees the management of the collection: the handling and packaging of works, condition reports, restorations … all the key stages in the life of a work to ensure its sustainability.
The reserves or artwork storage space of the FRAC Champagne-Ardenne are located outside the museum and measure 700m². They allow for the conservation of works in optimal conditions, from the smallest format to the most monumental. In each room, the location of every work is meticulously listed and recorded in a database so works can be found quickly and easily. The atmospheric conditions within the reserves are monitored to guarantee the proper conservation of the artworks.
- 876 artworks
- 376 artists
- 700m² of reserves
- Approximately 300 mobile artworks per year
All artworks are subject to the effects of time and usage; contemporary art is not excluded from these issues. Contemporary works can pose certain conservation challenges because artists are always using new materials and concepts that move away from “classical” techniques.
The ICOM (International Council of Museums) defines it as follows: “all measures and actions aimed at avoiding and minimizing future deterioration or loss. They are carried out within the context or on the surroundings of an item, but more often a group of items, whatever their age and condition. These measures and actions are indirect—they do not interfere with the materials and structures of the items. They do not modify their appearance.” (ICOM-CC).
Preventive conservation aims to slow down the aging process of the works, as well as limiting the risks of external accidents. These risks are multiple: the environment (temperature, hygrometry, light, etc.), storage and packaging conditions, transport, the instability of the materials and techniques used, but also human risks such as accidents, vandalism, and theft. A good knowledge of the materials is necessary in order to apply the right reflexes, which is why preventive conservation is based on the inventory and condition reports of the works, as well as the various restoration reports.
Preventive conservation is an important part of collection management.
The FRAC implements preventive conservation actions throughout the year (packaging, manufacture of transport cases, supervision of works, security, and monitoring of works, etc.).
Despite all these precautions, it is sometimes necessary to call on conservation-restoration professionals to restore damaged works. Unlike preventive conservation, restoration directly affects the materiality of the work. It aims to stabilize the work’s condition and occasionally to restore the readability of the work. A privileged opportunity to really study the works, restoration also allows us to learn more about the creative processes and techniques used by the artists.