Home ANNUAL SUMMITS 2007 Summit Presentation of the Conservation and Preservation committee

Presentation of the Conservation and Preservation committee

Day 2, Group 1

Richard Gagnier, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts


The presentation by Richard Gagnier on behalf of the committee for Case Studies in Restoration and Conservation will focus on the work accomplished in 2007, most notably with regard to the overall approach used in preserving works of art featuring technological components that are part of the collection of the National Gallery of Canada. One such component requiring that urgent action be taken is the slide. We are, in fact, witness to the increasing obsolescence and indeed disappearance of the film used in making slides, as its production is being phased out...

Richard Gagnier © DOCAM 2007


...Gagnier will also provide a summary of the committee’s progress, including an overview of the case study of Nut•ka• by Stan Douglas and more specifically an in-depth account of the documentation of the technological aspects of this work. A new case study on the works of David Rokeby will be presented, drawing most notably on an exhaustive interview conducted with the artist on the iterations of Machine for Taking Time. The interview also offers a perspective on an artist whose works involve technology and who has seen first-hand the effects of the rapid obsolescence of the components he uses. We will learn about Rokeby’s approach to maintaining operational the works that are still part of his personal collection. Gagnier will conclude his presentation with details on the significant progress made in preserving UNEX Sign No. 2 by Jenny Holzer through the application of a technological emulation strategy. The restoration of UNEX Sign No. 2 should be completed by late 2007 or early 2008, thanks in large part to the invaluable collaboration of the artist and her studio.


Richard Gagnier is the Head of Conservation at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts since Fall 2007. He graduated from the Université de Montréal with a B.Sc. (Honours) in Chemistry, and a minor in Art History, with a strong component on modern and contemporary art, theory and discourse. He completed the course requirements of the Masters program in the Art Conservation (MAC) Research stream at Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario. In 1984, he joined the team of the Restoration and Conservation Laboratory, at the National Gallery of Canada, where he successively developed an expertise as Assistant Conservator and Conservator of Contemporary Art until 2007. His practice encompasses contemporary art media, such as painting, sculpture, installation, as well as timed-based media. He is currently a researcher within DOCAM, where he leads the activities of the sub-committee Case studies – Conservation. He is the Canadian representative for INCCA in North America (INCCA-NA).