We start this new year with launching exciting conservation projects at the Phoebus conservation studio! Naomi Meulemans, conservator of the modern and contemporary sub-collections, oversees the restoration campaign of the installation Los Muñecos, created in 1960 by Italian-Argentinian artist Libero Badii (1916 – 2001).

Libero Badii, one of the Los Muñecos, 1916

Los Muñecos or The Dolls is an impressive installation of 14 wooden painted sculptures of almost 5 meters high. The instability of the wood and the drastic flaking of the paint layer demand an extensive restoration treatment.  

Each doll bears a title that refers to a social personification. Just like our social connections in society, the sculptures are connected to each other in space by a cable. Moreover, they are also attached by a ‘Tablero’,  symbol for the wheel of fortune.

Installation scale model and wheel

Conservator Naomi started this campaign already in 2017, with a preliminary study in collaboration with collaboration with conservator and contemporary art specialist Frederika Huys. Additionally, a material analysis was performed in the studio. With surprising results: x-ray photography showed that the current damage is partly a result of the manufacturing process! Together with conservator Giovanna Tamà and the Royal Institute for Art Heritage (KIK-IRPA), the final conservation and research will be executed throughout 2022.

Stay tuned for the result!