ISSN : 2266-6060

Dotted line

Paris, October 2016.

The Palais de Chaillot is definitely an odd place. This “neoclassical monumentalist” architectural legacy of the interwar period contains number of Nabis and Art Deco works. Most of them have been forgotten and return to their former glory thanks to a restoration campaign.
Imagine that restorers start by applying a sheet of tissue to protect the canvas and apply a layer of adhesive. The back of the canvas is then cleaned to facilitate the impregnation of the glue for the reattachment of the pictorial layer. The tears and snags in the canvas are filled in, the frame is restored and the cleaning can really begin. Restorationists undertake to clean up by concentrating the meticulous movement of their cotton buds. Once the canvas is dirtless, they can putty, fill in the gaps in the paint and apply a varnish. Every canvas takes several weeks or months of work.
Here, in Chaillot gallery, the stages of the renovation site are left visible. The scaffolding has been removed, but it seems that a fine white painted line has been added to hightline the areas of intervention. Are these features part of the ordinary protocols? Or would they be — and this time in dotted lines — another symptome of this venerated form of transparency? The one that finds activity reports and newsletters unsatisfactory.

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