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Higher Seminar: Hélène Svahn Garreau, KTH "On Conservation and the Authentic Original. (Re-) Enactments and Mural Paintings in Swedish Churches from the middle of the 19th Century until the 1980s"

Culture and languages
Science and Information Technology

Higher Seminiar in Conservation: Hélène Svahn Garreau, PhD KTH. All are welcome! More information to come.

Seminar
Date
31 Mar 2021
Time
15:00 - 17:00
Location
Zoom

In this seminar, we welcome PhD candidate Hélène Svahn Garreau, KTH school of Architecture, who will present her PhD work that is about medieval mural painting conservation-restoration in Sweden. Besides being a PhD student, Hélène is a conservator-restorer and works as a heritage consultant at Tyréns AB in Stockholm. Moreover, she is engaged with NKF-S (Nordiska konservatorsförbundet Sverige) and a delegate and committee member in E.C.C.O. (European Confederation of Conservator-Restorers' Organisations).

The study that will be presented is about mural painting conservation-restoration in the Swedish churches from the middle of the 19th century until the 1980s. Two main themes emerged that are analyzed separately and in relation to each other:

  1. The history of mural paintings in the Swedish churches in relation to the situation in Europe with special focus on the establishment conservation-restoration.  
  2. What conservation-Restoration is. It comprises theoretical discussions about key concepts such as the object, values, original and authenticity.

The study is influenced by ANT (actor-network-theory) and OOO (object-oriented ontology). Hence, different actors have been identified and how they enacted and perceived the paintings are discussed, with special focus on the conservator-restorers. The other main actors are the “antikvaries”, architects, painters, artists and the church. The paintings in themselves, and some material and technical innovations are also seen as actors and this discussed as well as the relation between the modern mural decoration in the churches and the medieval paintings. 

The methods that have been used are:

  • Four case studies with the scope to come closer to the mural paintings and understand what the restorers and conservators actually did. 
  • Study tours 
  • Extensive archive studies 
  • Analyses of contemporary literature and publications
  • Interviews 

Three periods with different principles and theoretical background were thus distinguished:

  • The stylistic restoration 
  • The conservation 
  • The cautious conservation 

 

The PhD is written in Swedish, the presentation will be in English and the discussion in both languages. 

Finally, a word from Hélène: –I am looking forward to discuss my work with you!