Not only sacrifice.

Fernando Vegas & Camilla Mileto

The finishing surfaces of the architecture not only represent the protection of the built fabric but are able to convey feelings and messages that transcend this function of physical protection. The strokes of its application, its composition, the gentle erosion and patina of time, the traces of its use are physical signs that possess the virtue of expressing the ineffable. Even the fragment within its context is able to evoke the building’s past. The intervention should therefore consider its eventual cleaning, reintegration and conservation against the widespread view that conceives the finishing surface as an element of sacrifice, the replacement of which does not alter the value of its architecture. This lecture will present this approach and show examples of restoration carried out by the authors of whitewashing, lime mortar renderings, gypsum plasters, etc. showing that the preservation of the expression of these historical surfaces is not at odds with decorum, their protective efficacy and their durability, even in cases where significant reintegration of lost gaps has been necessary or where critical selection of the historical areas to be conserved has been unavoidable.


Surfaces in Conservation. Images, identity, aesthetics

In a work of art, the correlation between the media and the expression of its aging may be considered as the function of a relationship established over time, in the dichotomy between authenticity and historicity. In the surfaces of art and architecture, this relationship represents the cultural site where the reflections and shifts in how we think about time take place. There are many physical aspects of this transformation, situated on the edge between cultural proposition and aesthetic experience.
The seminar is a collaboration between Università Iuav di Venezia, the Istituto Centrale del Restauro in Rome (ICR) and the Ministry of Culture (MiC), whose objective is an interdisciplinary consideration of conservation projects as a means (and not only a tool) for aesthetic experience.
The program reflects this theoretical assumption and will be made up of two sessions, considered as intersecting themes, Image and Material in the Work of Art, and Image and Construction in Architecture. Within this discussion, through presentations and conversations addressing the metaphor of surface as cultural project site, the speakers will examine various fields of knowledge – artistic practices, aesthetics, the history of art and art criticism, the history of architecture, theory and history of conservation, conservation techniques, petrology, architectural composition, urban planning, the philosophy of language and linguistic theory, archeology, and engineering as applied to cultural heritage.

Author: Fernando Vegas & Camilla Mileto
Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura, Universitat Politècnica de València

Biography ↗

Surfaces in Conservation. Images, identity, aesthetics

curated by Luigi Ficacci, Emanuela Sorbo, Marco Chiuso


Seminar participants
Fabrizio Antonelli, LAMA Director – Lab for Analysing Materials of Antique Origin – Università Iuav di Venezia; Aldo Aymonino, Department Director – Università Iuav di Venezia; Peregrine Bryant, Director Studio Peregrine Bryant, London; Massimo Carmassi, former Professor Università Iuav di Venezia; Gabriella De Monte; Luigi Ficacci, former Director ICR; Laura Fregolent, Director of Research – Università Iuav di Venezia; Claudio Gulli, Palazzo Butera Foundation, Palermo; Renato Leotta, Artist; Alessandra Marino, ICR Director; Angela Mengoni, Università Iuav di Venezia; Camilla Mileto, Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura, Universitat Politècnica de València; Laura Morgante, Studio Peregrine Bryant, London; Simona Sajeva, Engineer, INP (Institut National du Patrimoine); Giorgio Sobrà, SAF – ICR Matera (Scuola di Alta Formazione e studio); Fernando Vegas, Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura, Universitat Politècnica de València; Alessandro Viscogliosi, Università La Sapienza, Rome


Technical Team

Sofia Tonello, Gianluca Spironelli, Marco Tosato


Laurel Saint-Pierre

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