Challenging conservation principles Valuation of a graffiti mural by Carolina Falkholt
The main area of research in this thesis is valuation of graffiti and street art, and the application of conservation theories on murals grounded in the graffiti culture. The conflict between traditional conservation principles and the ephemerality of graffiti as a potential significant value is an essential part of this research, that strives to identify the factors and values related to these artworks. Contemporary conservation principles of minimum intervention, reversibility and authenticity in relation to ephemeral works are discussed. Another topic researched is the complexity of fluorescent paint, and the conservation challenges associated with this type of material. The graffiti mural “RUM” by Carolina Falkholt, located in Visby, is used as case study and two different valuation frameworks are applied on the work to thoroughly analyse and define the values. By analysing some of the codes of ethics and practical guidelines produced by professional conservation organisations in relation to the case study the conclusion is that the most difficult thing it is to preserve original material and other intangible aspects, as these in many cases involve conflicting measures. The codes of ethics and the practical guidelines, can be seen as a guidance and as something all professionals in the preservation field should relate to, but applying these to graffiti is, as shown, complicated in practice. As the case study is critically degraded: the paint layer is flaking and the colour is severely faded, three different conservation treatment approaches are suggested based on the result of the valuations performed and in relation to conservation principles. The three main conclusions that can be drawn from this study are: -Traditional conservation theory needs to be challenged to successfully preserve graffiti and street art. -Valuation frameworks are effective when defining values and aspects of authenticity concerning artworks of this type. -The inherent ephemerality of the material often used in graffiti and street art, makes the conservation of these works a significant technical challenge, and in some cases interventive conservation may not be possible.
Degree project for Master of Science with a major in Conservation 2022, 30 HEC 2022:23