Mosaikk (1955) is a monumental ceramic frieze by Sigurd Winge (1909-1970), made during the years 1948 to 1956. The frieze is mounted directly on the tall masonry wall in the grand foyer at Oslo Handelsgymnasium. After an incident with leakage from the ceiling above the frieze, a conservation treatment was carried out in 2019.

This conservation project was done in collaboration with conservators Ana Vrdoljak, Hilde Berntsen and Ingeborg Korvald, and sculpture conservator Joanna Hench as project leader. The surrounding wall was to be painted in original color, and the aim of the conservation project was to secure instabilities in the work, clean all surfaces and do necessary surface retouching of the work after years of wear and tear.

The becoming of Mosaikk was conveyed by Jan Askeland in this publication from 1956.
Photo of the artist at work in Jan Askeland’s publication.
Detail photograph of tiles with «plastic» colors, during treatment in 2019.

Reaching 4,5 by 15,5 meters, the frieze consists of a large number of individual terracotta tiles in various sizes. The tiles were mounted in mortar by the artist himself, before the final plastering of the wall. Finishing the work after its mounting, parts of the tiles were painted in matte colors, termed by the artist as “plastic”. These colors are to varying degrees soluble in aqueous solutions, and thereby limits the options in methods for cleaning the work.

My contribution to the treatment firstly consisted of cleansing the tiles’ surface dust and dirt with brushes and dry sponges, and a subsequent retouching of the edges with gouache paints, as well as finishing the treatment by painting the surrounding wall surfaces in closest proximity to the work of art.

The entire ceramic frieze behind scaffolding during treatment.

After treatment: