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The restoration of Street Art works Invasive practice or protection and opportunities for urban art?

The restoration or conservation of Street Art are practices that have only recently been considered.

When, how and why are they to be implemented?

The broad definition of Street Art includes different forms of art that are placed in public street and urban contexts in a completely spontaneous way, but with an ephemeral temporal nature.

In fact, the birth of spontaneous or commissioned Street Art works presents some differences:

  • for works created without commission, often the illegal context in which they are born does not provide for or is not considered by the artist to restore or prepare the walls belonging to decaying buildings and chosen more for their shape and visibility, moreover they are subject to the degradation due to the environmental context as well as to the weather;

  • for commissioned works, on the other hand, the desire for duration of the work is considered in view of the realization of the project, for this reason the choice of place and wall, the quality of paints and other materials, as well as the implementation of good conservation practices over time to slow down deterioration

On the possibilities and limits of the restoration of urban art, the Negri-Clementi Associated Law Firm of Milan has published the first 2020 volume of “Art&Law” entirely dedicated to Street Art.

Among the main damages that an urban work of art can suffer are:

  • Wall subsidence
  • Unauthorized Rippings for sales purposes, as for the works of the street artist Banksy

  • Alteration of the color of the paints that goes from fading to color change

If in some contexts the deterioration of the work is considered an added value, today even urban art becomes susceptible to conservation and in extreme need of restoration.

If applied, the practice of restoring Street Art must take into consideration the concept of “minimal intervention” on the work, therefore using low-resistance and retractable materials, thus guaranteeing the transformative process while respecting the dynamics, together with intentionality and artist’s message.

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