Interview with Mikkel Scharff head of institute of Conservation

KADK Insight

Starting the school year 2014 KADK is organized in a new structure consisting of 7 new institutes. We have interviewed the 7 new heads of institute of the School of Architecture, School of Design and the School of Conservation as well as rector. Mikkel Scharff is head of the institute Conservation.

Head of institute Mikkel Scharff

1. What is special about your institute?
We handle the conservation of cultural heritage and natural heritage in Denmark
– of anything from small silver coins to huge murals in Danish churches. We
help unravel the origin of specifi c items – for instance, we can see from the
blue colour in a mural painting in a church in Jutland that it comes from
Afghanistan and has probably travelled via Venice to Denmark. We work with
technical art history that can both safeguard the future and help uncover the past.

2. What characterises the students at your institute?
They are interested in art and cultural history as well as our both theoretical
and practical approach, where students work with objects from the National
Museum of Denmark, the National Gallery of Denmark and other museums,
libraries and archives. They get the opportunity to conduct projects that deal
with real objects. Work with both knowledge and craftsmanship.

3. Which role does your institute play in Danish art and culture?
We help ensure the preservation of Danish art and culture. From ancient
statues, coins or other historical works over DNA found in animals and plants
to modern products such as digital photos and materials, or Irma's arts bags
that may some day be of signifi cance to Danish art history. All works crumble
and disappear unless something is done to preserve them.

4. Which work/product or place do you associate with the institute?
It can be the old Greek statues from antiquity, where small colour particles
from the statues show us that at some stage, the statues were coloured and
not just white. Tiny little specks of colour – one millionth of a metre – enable
us to uncover history.

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