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The British Museum embarks on major project to preserve Korean art
Unknown, Mountain God, 20th century. Ink, colour, and gold leaf on cotton. Large unmounted painting that will need to be consolidated, cleaned and mounted.

LONDON.- The British Museum announces a major long-term project to preserve Korean art for future generations. The Museum – which houses the largest Korean art collection in the UK and one of the most comprehensive outside of East Asia – will spend five years researching and conserving key objects of pictorial art from its 4,200-strong Korea collection, which includes paintings, prints and artworks on silk and cotton. It is the first long-term project dedicated to the study and conservation of Korean pictorial art in the West, and is supported thanks to a new partnership with Amorepacific, Korea’s leading beauty company. The partnership is facilitated by the Korea Foundation through their Designated Donor Program.

A new post of the Amorepacific Conservator of Korean Pictorial Art has been established to carry out the project, the first role of its kind in any Western museum. This dedicated specialist will become a leader in the study of Korean art and will ensure that the British Museum will be a European centre of excellence in this field.

The Amorepacific Project for the Conservation for Korean Pictorial Art seeks to urgently address the lack of knowledge and skills in Europe and North America, where many museums with Korean collections do not have specialists to carry out research and conservation of the objects they hold. With this project, the British Museum will work closely with the Amorepacific Museum of Art and collaborate with scholars, curators, conservators, craft makers, and artisans based in Korea. The findings from this project will therefore become a vital resource for Western museums and academic institutions to ensure similar collections can be properly cared for, researched and enjoyed by future generations.

Hartwig Fischer, Director of the British Museum, says: “This is a hugely exciting project that wouldn’t be possible without the generosity of Amorepacific. Until now, it has been rare to find in Europe or the United States a curator and conservator of Korean art in one city, least of all in one institution. Now we will have both here in the British Museum in London, the only European museum with a conservation and remounting studio dedicated to East Asian pictorial art. It is going to radically improve our knowledge of this field and we look forward to working with colleagues from all over the world.”

Suh Kyung-bae, Chairman & CEO, Amorepacific Group says: “Through this project the works of Korean traditional art in the British Museum collection will gain a new life through appropriate conservation and therefore be sustained for future generations. Amorepacific sees this project as an opportunity to build a strong, sustainable partnership with the British Museum and thus introduce Korean culture more widely to the world. I would like to express my hope that this project will help to elevate the status of Korean traditional culture and share its beauty and charm worldwide.”

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