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Title: Wandmalerei endtdeckt! Freilegen oder wieder verdecken?
Subtitle: Anmerkungen zu einem ewigen Dilemma der Denkmalpflege
Author(s): DANZL, Thomas
Journal: Tijdschrift voor Interieurgeschiedenis en Design
Volume: 38    Date: 2012-2013   
Pages: 195-205
DOI: 10.2143/GBI.38.0.3139364

Abstract :
Commencing in the mid 19th century across Europe, the exposure of wall and ceiling paintings was common practice especially in the 1920s and ’30s, and finally in the 1960s-70s and ’80s-90s. Nowadays this earlier practice causes enormous problems of aftercare in historic conservation in the face of ever decreasing public and private funding in combination with continuous jobcuts that undermine both state and ecclesiastical conservation of monuments. This cyclic phenomenon probably recurred each generation and is again increasingly occurring today. It is in stark contrast to the continuous care of buildings which is essential to preservation of historic monuments and which requires shorter intervals of maintenance. The use of film-forming, organic and inorganic adhesion agents now also makes many wall paintings into a ‘legacy’ of restoration history. Today a stagnation in maintenance of up to thirty – and even a hundred – years is an evident problem in Central Europe. Because of a lack of funding it is only possible to address this problem with methods of preventive conservation. According to Erwin Bacher, approximately 95% of all wall paintings visible today has been exposed, but only a fraction has been adequately described in terms of art history and material technology. Repeated attempts have been made to record them in catalogue and corpus form, but this has been satisfactorily achieved in only a few cases. A regular inspection of their condition, or even a prioritisation on the basis of such inspection, for the purpose of preserving them now appears to be more illusory than ever. Therefore, it must seem grotesque that even now both conservationists and restorers succumb to the tempting delights of discovery and, blinded by an anachronistic and even seemingly positivist belief in progress and science, attempt to play down the losses that inevitably occur in every exposure.
• Who are today’s promoters of exposure?
• How is the time/cost factor of exposure presented in everyday historic conservation?
• What about raising awareness of the issue of ‘exposure’ in the training of restorers?
• When is exposure still unavoidable even today?
• What about the possibility of covering up again and the practice of preventive conservation?
• What were and are the aesthetic consequences of exposure, such as in church interiors?

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