The problem of contemporary artwork’s conservation in the context of the artist’s notes and works: a case study of Maria Pinińska-Bereś’s "The Meadow of Your Body" - an artwork made using polymer foam

Author: Oskar Hanusek
Mentor: Grażyna Korpal, Professor

Jan Matejko Academy Of Fine Arts in Kraków(Poland)
Study programme: Conservation and Restoration of Works of Art 
Specialization: Conservation-restoration of paintings, 6th study year  


HANUSEK OskarThe Meadow of Your Body was made by Maria Pinińska-Bereś in 1987. It is a horizontal, contemporary sculpture, with one element soft, made of cotton fabric. Originally it was filled with a "mattress" made of a sheet of polyurethane foam. The surface of the sculpture is covered with pink acrylic paint. The color and shape refers to the issues characteristic of Pinińska’s creations – femininity, feminism and eroticism. The main problem is the degradation of the polyurethane filling, which entirely lost its shape, density, elasticity and softness. Therefore the work of art lost its principal attributes.
In a broad archive of the artist, one can find detailed instructions about conservation treatments and specifications (also ideological) of used materials. Not only the appearance, but the type, elasticity or weight of material are important as well. The principal task was to remove the old filling, and replace it with a new material - that fulfils the artist’s ideas but is also durable. During the work, other problems were also raised like the recognition of artist’s technology or the cleaning of acrylic surfaces.

Short biography

OSKAR HANUSEK  was born in Cracow, Poland on July 26th 1989. He finished the Bilingual French High School in Cracow. Since 2008, he studies at the Faculty of Conservation and Restoration of Works of Art at the Jan Matejko Academy Of Fine Arts in Cracow. During his studies, he participated at several conservation workshops in Lower Silesia and Cracow. He also participated at the professional practice at MOCAK - Museum of Contemporary Art in Cracow.