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Sgraffito in Change: Materials, Techniques, Topics, and Preservation

From: Thursday 02.11.17
at 10:00am
To: Saturday 04.11.17
at 4:00pm

HAWK, Hildesheim, Goschentor 1

Event description: 

International conference of the HAWK University of Applied Sciences and Arts Hildesheim/Holzminden/Göttingen in cooperation with the Niedersächsisches Landesamt für Denkmalpflege (Lower Saxony state service for cultural heritage)

Conference languages: German or English

Application deadline: 15 October 2017

Sgraffito decorations are severely threatened in their original form by environmental damage, overpainting, thermal insulation, and wide ignorance. Often only a small part of the original has survived. European cooperation is therefore necessary to deal with the problems of the practical restoration as well as with the lack of appreciation.

The conference title “Sgraffito in Change” has an ambiguous meaning. In one respect, it is about analyzing the material, technical and thematic changes from the Middle Ages to the late twentieth century. Another aspect concerns the changes to the preserved Sgraffito decorations that nearly every example of Sgraffito has experienced due to conservation measures over time.

The conference pursues several objectives:

-    For the first time, scholars with acknowledged expertise from the leading European countries in this area will come together to elaborate concrete solutions for endangered Sgraffito decorations by means of representative case studies.

-    In addition, decision-makers should be made aware of the importance of the qualified preservation of Sgraffito decorations by highlighting the diversity of materials, techniques, and topics involved in Sgraffito decorations as well as their cultural-historical significance.

-    For the long term, the organizers would like to initiate a network that establishes a joint exchange for the purpose of quality assurance in the conservation of Sgraffito decorations.

By explaining outstanding case studies and new research findings, the conference will be particularly important for restoration scholars, as many unpublished findings will be discussed here. Through its practical orientation, the conference will also become a training event for restorers and conservation specialists. Finally, the many presented objects will demonstrate the versatility of Sgraffito motifs, techniques and tasks, and encourage their further cultural-historical research.

After extensive research, specialists from the leading countries in this field were selected for the international exchange (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Poland and Switzerland). Three keynote lectures will first outline the topic: These lectures will focus on Sgraffito in Europe and beyond (Rafael Ruiz Alonso), the diversity of Sgraffito materials and techniques (Nicole Riedl- Siedow), and the problems with Sgraffito conservation (Kerstin Klein).

The lectures will be followed by country-specific or individual examples ranging from the Renaissance to the late twentieth century from the speakers’ home countries. These examples will include thoughts on the development and rediscovery of Sgraffito (Thomas Danzl, Ulrich Fritz, Andreas Huth), new research results on material findings (Zuzana Wichterlova), difficult conservation problems (Christiane Maier), and extensive reconstruction efforts (Jan Vojtechovsky). Three lectures are dedicated to the Sgraffito decorations from the reconstruction period after the Second World War (Anneli Ellesat, Anna Kiegseisen, Christoph Schaab).

During the evening lecture, which is open to the public, Dr. Roswitha Kaiser will explain preservation practices of Sgraffiti whose purpose was to spread Nazi propaganda.

Other colleagues, who despite important new research results were not selected for the international exchange, are invited to participate in the poster session. All posters will be presented in a separate session, which will give authors and conference participants the opportunity for discussion. Additionally, all posters will be published in digital form and will receive a DOI in the research portal of the Hornemann Institute.