Plastics Project

how can we preserve fragile plastic artworks for the future?

Since April 2017 the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag has been participating in a research project concerning plastic artefacts in museum collections in the Netherlands. Every collection of contemporary art and design includes objects made partly or wholly of plastic. To identify the material composition of such objects requires specialist knowledge, which is often lacking. The Plastics Project is bringing together conservation scientists and ten major museums and curators in the Netherlands to develop a do-it-yourself method that will enable curators and restorers to take independent action to identify, monitor and where necessary conserve a large proportion of the plastics in the collections for which they are responsible.

Soon (Inside)(Ground Zero) by Isa Genzken

The Gemeentemuseum Den Haag is supplying one of the case studies in the Plastics project: a 2008 artwork by Isa Genzken (b. 1948). Soon (Inside)(Ground Zero) consists of mirrors, coloured tape, mirror foil, photos, traces of glue, polymer spray paint and stickers attached to eleven plastic holders.

Project partners

The Plastics Project is being coordinated by the Foundation for the Conservation of Contemporary Art (Dutch abbreviation: SBMK) and the Netherlands Institute for Conservation, Art and Science (NICAS), a collaborative venture by the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands (RCE), the Rijksmuseum (RM) and the Conservation and Restoration Department at the University of Amsterdam (UvA). In addition to the ten museums (the Bonnefantenmuseum, Centraal Museum, Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, Kröller-Müller Museum, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Schunck*, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam and Van Abbemuseum), the RABO Art Collection and the Art Collections of the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands are also participating in the project.

The Plastics Project is set to run until April 2019 and is being supported by financial contributions from the Gieskes-Strijbis Fund and the Mondriaan Fund.