Anna Konopko

Issues of conservation and restoration of sculptures by Mirosław Bałka – Bitch and Clean doggy

The conservation of modern and contemporary art from the beginning of my studies seemed to be one of the most fascinating areas of this discipline due to the absolute uniqueness of each object. It concerns both the tangible sphere – unusual materials and surprising techniques, as well as the intangible – ideas and meanings, which constitute the essence of modern and contemporary art.

Contemporary sculptures, two charming “doggies” by Mirosław Bałka, made it necessary for me to consolidate the knowledge and principles of conservation of historic art objects, gained from both specialities and at the same time consciously rise above to adapt to the individual features of the objects. It was also an ideal opportunity to use the skills acquired in two specialities – the conservation of painting and of textiles. This experience was an incredibly important stimulus for my development as a conservator, and it also confirmed my belief that the choice of an interdisciplinary path in the field of conservation was the best possible.

A diversified conservation-restoration approach to alterations and historical layers on the example of an 18th-century Dominican banner from the st. John the Baptist Church in Janów Lubelski

The processional banner may seem a typical object of historical art, but in fact what constitutes its essence is not distant from the contemporary ideas of interdisciplinary art that escapes established categories. The banner from Janów is an expression of the Baroque “synthesis of arts” – its substance is determined by various materials and techniques intertwined in one work, as well as its cultural, historical and social context. Therefore, completing of conservation and restoration works was possible only thanks to the knowledge and skills acquired in two specialities – conservation of painting and of textiles.

The greatest challenge, and at the same time the most satisfying aspect of this degree project, I consider extensive, interdisciplinary research on the matter, history and significance of this unique work. Thanks to dozens of hours spent on reading books in libraries and in front of a screen, a fascinating, vivid picture of history, people and places that has found its physical expression in the banner emerged from a destroyed museum artefact with a vague past and meaning

(born 1990)
Studies: at the Faculty of Conservation and Restoration of Works of Art of the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw (2009-2018). She works in the conservation and restoration of unusual works of art escaping the traditional artistic disciplines. Winner of the Minister of Culture and National Heritage Award for art school students (2012/13). Co-founder and deputy editor-in-chief of ICAR – International Journal of Young Conservators and Restorers of Works of Art (since 2016). A teaching assistant at the Department of Conservation and Restoration of Textiles at the Faculty (since 2018). Author of research papers, participant and organizer of specialist conferences.