Saved – Restored artworks damaged by fire

opening: April 16, 2019, 6 p.m.
duration: April 17, 2019 – September 1, 2019
East Slovak Gallery, Alžbetina 22
restorer: Ludmila Zozuľáková
curators: Katarína Nádaská, Miroslav Kleban

The exhibition presents the project of restoring pieces of art of the East Slovak Gallery in the period from 2017 to 2018. The gallery has successfully completed stages three and four of the restoration of the artworks from their collection. The pieces of art were damaged in the gallery fire of 1985 and have not been restored until now. The exhibition introduces 23 paintings which were completely restored in the first phase of the project by Ludmila Zozuľáková. The restoration of the paper-based pieces of art was assisted by Jana Križanová and Barbora Němečková.

The collection of exhibited artworks comprises the oldest and most significant pieces from among the fire-damaged items. They constitute a part of the East Slovak Gallery’s principal collections: Art of the 19th century and Košice Modernism. The installation divides artworks into 4 distinct groups according to the restoration issue: 1/ artworks on paper, 2/ paintings on canvas – separation of paint from base, 3/ paintings on canvas – mechanical damage to canvas and paint, 4/ artworks on a solid base.

The aim of this exhibition is to highlight the importance of restoration as a means of protecting the cultural heritage preserved in museums and galleries. The obligation of these institutions to look after entrusted cultural heritage is enshrined in law. While the public is only scarcely informed about these demanding processes, the East Slovak Gallery decided to organise an exhibition revealing the longstanding restoration work and its contribution to the understanding of works of art, their full admiration and preservation for future generations.

The exposition also commemorates the event of a fire in 1985, when the gallery depository was consumed by flames due to the explosion of gas pipes. The damage to the gallery’s collection was so immense that the institution still deals with its consequences to this day. The end of the restoration of decommissioned fire-damaged pieces of art was planned for 2023.

After their restoration, the artworks are ready for all acts of presentation, education and research, and they also become an immediate part of exhibition projects. We would like to ensure that this journey back to gallery life becomes an enriching experience for all visitors. Even though this dimension of cultural heritage valuation is less well-known, it is an integral part of our shared inheritance.

Restoration of the artworks was supported by the Slovak Arts Council

Supported using public funding by Slovak Arts Council

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