Meeting with the restorer

On 23 March 2024, a meeting with restorer Mārtiņš Ziders took place in Pedvāle. The event was opened by Ojārs Feldbergs, who told about the history of plein-air painting in Pedvāle, which began in 1993.
In the continuation of the event, Mārtiņš Ziders gave an exciting lecture about the original condition of each painting, the discoveries and challenges in the restoration process and the preparation of the works for further preservation in the collection of Pedvāle. The restorer’s narration conjured up a vision of the secret life of paintings, often invisible to the eyes of the viewer, which every artwork experiences in its lifetime. Over time, the paintings have been affected by natural aging processes, damage caused during storage, temperature fluctuations, some works have also been damaged by woodborers, and they have suffered from vandalism. Artists Kārlis Siliņš and Rudīte Dreimane, along with Ojārs Feldbergs, were also present at the event. The artists shared their memories of creating works during plein-air painting events.

A restoration passport has been created for each artwork, documenting the restoration of the paintings. For example, the following is written in the restoration passport about the painting “Ravine and lilac flowers in Pedvāle” (1995) by Kārlis Siliņš: “When the canvas was removed from the wedge frame, it was concluded that the edge of the lower fold along its entire length had been gnawed by an insect (woodborer?) together with the edge of the wedge frame and the canvas was partially or completely missing, or lost its strength. Therefore, the work task was supplemented with duplicating the lower edge”.

The following is written about painting “Sunset” (1995) by Helēna Heinrihsone: “In the areas of thinner paint, it can be seen that it was painted over another painting. In the upper right corner, the previous vertical signature of the author can be seen through the orange colour. In the lower left corner, in the black area, the author’s signature in red colour”.

Since 1993, plein-airs, symposia and exhibitions have been organised in Pedvale. During these years, an extensive collection of paintings has formed. A couple of years ago, an inventory of paintings was carried out and it was found that some of the works need restoration. The restorer Mārtiņš Ziders undertook to carry out this work, and currently the restored paintings have returned to Pedvāle. Currently, 14 of the restored paintings are on display in the exhibition hall of the Pedvāle International Artists’ Residency.

The restored works by Latvian artists Kārlis Siliņš, Rudīte Dreimane, Inga Brūvere, Sandra Krastiņa, Laima Eglīte, Vija Maldupe, Baiba Sprance, Ieva Maurīte, Helēna Heinrihsone and Ojārs Feldbergs, and Estonian artist Urmas Martinson are on display at the exhibition.

The paintings were restored with the support of the Ministry of Culture of Latvia.