The materials, methods and techniques for conservation are many and would take up a lot of space to write about. We have a pdf file for you, for your ready reference.
But before you dip into the writing, let us be clear about the reasons why conservation is so important and is, indeed, a very major part of the activity in the Art World today.
It is because Art is a record of man’s progress through the ages. I am referring to visual art. All art is an endeavour towards beauty and an understanding of life and the human condition. Great art is universal and appeals to people of different age groups, cultures and time periods. This is the sort of Art that stays on with us in the history of humans. They go on to define us. Great Art is the pinnacle of human spirit and achievement. Many people have compared Art to God, by which they mean – Godliness. It can be timeless and wondrous in a way that few other human achievements can be.
Art also moves us and changes us. While experiencing great Art – be it a play, a film or a novel, a painting a piece of sculpture or a dance performance – we are transformed through the experience. Our lives are enriched and we have more in us than we had before the experience.
There are different ways of preserving different forms of art. Cinemas, literature, dance… all have their own ways of being preserved. Today a lot of technology is being used in preservation as well.
What about the oldest stories that used to be handed down through word of mouth, from generation to generation? That is how we got our great epics – both in the Western and in the Eastern world. Keeping the oral tradition alive has been particularly difficult in our times. Much of the tribal populations and peoples without a written script take recourse to oral traditions. With the gentrification of the tribal and their moving away to live and work in modern towns and cities, the age old cadences of life as well as their oral traditions are at a danger of being lost.
We, at the Early Works Art Gallery are more concerned with the Visual Arts and so we would concentrate on the techniques used in preserving those art forms that fall under our purview.
As a basic primer, and to understand the complex processes used to conserve art, we share with you this file: