Two women with blue medical gloves work on an artwork laid out on a white table. The artwork consisting of German words printed on a large gold-covered vellum sheet. The sheet is rolled into a scroll with part of it flat on the table. One of the women is kneeling by the word and touching it, while the other woman leans over and observes her actions.

How Conservators Protect Objects against Sweat, Floor Paint, and Weather

Conserving contemporary visual culture is both a challenge and an opportunity. For Noguchi for Danh Vo: Counterpoint, the conservation efforts were conducted by Albrecht Gumlich, Conservator, Objects, M+, and the M+ conservation team. Below, he discusses some of the factors that the conservators had to protect against in the exhibition.

Why do we preserve visual culture, and what are we protecting it from when we preserve it? That’s the question that conservators are often asked. Objects in a museum collection are not only worth money, but they also have a cultural, historical, and social significance, which museums want to preserve for future generations to learn from, be inspired by, and enjoy.

There are many factors that can cause degradation, even in settings as carefully engineered as a museum exhibition, from the sweat on our fingers to the light shining onto an object. Below are some of the key dangers that conservators protect against.

Danger #1: People’s fingers

A woman kneels in front of a large net hanging from the ceiling filled with dry leaves. She is focused on adjusting one of the leaves sticking out of the net. In the background, two men adjust leaves in a second net hanging from the ceiling.

Why Did M+ Team Members Spend Weeks Collecting Old Leaves?

In the current exhibition at the M+ Pavilion, In Search of Southeast Asia through the M+ Collections, you’ll find a video installation work next to two large, suspended nets filled with leaves. This is All Lines Flow Out by Charles Lim, a work that explores Singapore’s drainage system and how it reflects the city’s relationship to the sea. The work’s installation instructions state that the leaves should be freshly gathered for each display. So, how do you find these leaves? Below, four members of M+’s exhibitions team share how they did it.

Participants: Kieran Champion, Senior Manager, Installations and Displays; Natalie Harding, Associate Conservator, Objects; Nelson Tsui, Assistant Art Technician; and Howard Wong, Exhibitions Production Technician.

A woman wearing a black headband magnifier holds a small paintbrush and is painting onto a painting on canvas.

Conserving Ink Art for 'The Weight of Lightness: Ink Art at M+'

Every M+ exhibition presents new challenges and opportunities for the M+ Conservation team. For The Weight of Lightness: Ink Art at M+, the conservation efforts were led by Jo-Fan Huang, Conservator, Paper, and Karina Jagudina, Conservator, Paintings. Read on below for a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the conservation process, as they recount some of the unique cases they faced. Find out what to do when dealing with losses, what microclimates are, and how difficult it can be just to put an artwork on the wall.

Sample Room in 2017 at the M+ Pavilion. The exhibition consists of a room with dozens of pieces of kitchenware hanging off hooks on the wall. The wooden slats of the wall have emails between the artist and curator printed on them.

Curating/Conserving Canton Express: When Kitchen Products Become Art

We’ve gone through a lot of strange artworks in our 'Curating/Conserving Canton Express' series: giant bug objects, lifesize chicken sculptures, and mini-kingdoms filled with giant straws. For this final part of the series, we will be looking at something seemingly much more normal and mundane: a tiny room filled with kitchen products.

Sample Room by Zheng Guogu is the concept of ‘Made in China’ in artwork form. In the city of Yangjiang in Guangdong province, local samples of products, such as kitchenware, are produced and put into display rooms to be shown for international buyers. In 2003, Zheng Guogu took these local kitchen products, put them in his own manufactured display room, and then shipped the entire thing to the Venice Biennale. There, it was part of Canton Express, a project originally organised in 2003 and restaged in 2017 at the M+ Pavilion.