Conservation in Art – Enhancing the Damage: Part 1

In most cases of restoration, clients want their items to as “good as new”, and in some cases the client would like the piece “aged, but spruced up a bit”. However, it is not often, that a client would like the damaged to be enhanced. This is however, exactly the notion for Artist Tatiane Freitas, whose series My New Old Chair enhances the damage to antique furniture, allowing the viewer to acknowledge the history of the piece, while making the structure whole again.

Her series explores the notion of repair, and how the life of the furniture changes with the times. In these cases, the chairs are damaged beyond traditional repair, as the majority of the original material is lost. While fabricating the missing areas of the chairs are very possible, Freitas would like to acknowledge and contrast antiquated furniture with tools of modernity. The chair, now repaired with a clear acrylic, is structurally sound, but suggests an ode to importance of its history.

Acrylic is a synthetic material, which was developed in the early 1900s, and became popular in production in the early 1950s. It is known for its durability, sleek design and translucency. To contrast, wood is an organic material, which has been used since the beginning of time, and while it is also known for its durability, its organic nature lends itself to damage, warping and decay. By contrasting these materials, Freitas comments on the innovation of household materials, while stressing the importance of preserving our past.


In Freitas’ artist’s statement, she notes that she always wanted to create pieces “which will endure the harshness of time, and therefore, bring to their new owners the memories evoked in her, many lost in history.” With its new design, the piece is not only an interesting conversation starter, it intermingles its existing history with modern times, creating new memories and new life.


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