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Kunsthaus Zürich

Herbert Distel

Conservation and restoration project

Some of these topics have already been addressed in a bachelor thesis that was prepared for Bern University of the Arts’ Department of Conservation and Restoration in 2008/2009. Using the software program FileMaker Pro 10, a database was created that would be suitable in terms of both form and content. In addition, optical examinations and photographic documentation work was carried out on 200 of the miniature objects, with evaluated data subsequently being entered into the database. The data was analyzed, and future conservation and restoration procedures planned accordingly.
It became evident that approximately 30 per cent of the 200 miniature objects are at risk or acutely at risk. Of particular concern in the ‘acutely at risk’ category are degradation phenomena such as ‘lifting of the paint layer’, ‘objects that have become detached’, ‘components that have become detached’ and a specific form of installation damage. The latter problem has arisen in cases where the miniature object’s paper support has been attached directly to the compartment wall using double-sided adhesive tape. Components of the adhesive or the tape itself have migrated into the paper, thus altering its structure. There is a drastic need for remedial action.

In January 2010, work will begin on the examination of the remaining 300 miniature objects to determine the materials and production techniques employed in their construction and their condition. The data accumulated in the process will be added to the database. This will be followed by material analysis and conservation measures applied to individual miniature objects. Finally, additional measures, as detailed above, will be carried out.

Thanks to the kind support of Bank Julius Baer, it is now possible to let this work on «Museum of Drawers» be carried out.

Conservation and restoration project

Herbert Distel’s Schubladenmuseum (Museum of Drawers)

The optical examinations of the miniature objects are carried out using a torch and a Zeiss magnifying glass. Cotton gloves are worn when work is conducted involving the drawers. The rows of compartments not being examined are covered with cardboard to protect them from possible mechanical damage.
The optical examinations of the miniature objects are carried out using a torch and a Zeiss magnifying glass. Cotton gloves are worn when work is conducted involving the drawers. The rows of compartments not being examined are covered with cardboard to protect them from possible mechanical damage.
The photographic documentation of the miniature objects is performed using a Canon digital SLR camera. The room is darkened, and two daylight lamps are set up. A small colour chart with a measuring scale in centimetres is placed in or next to the compartment being photographed. The compartments not being photographed are again covered, this time to protect them from electromagnetic radiation.
The photographic documentation of the miniature objects is performed using a Canon digital SLR camera. The room is darkened, and two daylight lamps are set up. A small colour chart with a measuring scale in centimetres is placed in or next to the compartment being photographed. The compartments not being photographed are again covered, this time to protect them from electromagnetic radiation.