ART AND MOTION. THE CONSERVATION OF THE MOTOR- DRIVEN OLYMPIA-SCULPTURE DESIGNED BY HANS-MICHAEL KISSEL IN 1972
BY DELIA MÜLLER-WUESTEN
Hans-Michael Kissel designed the Olympia-Sculpture for the Olympic Games in Munich in 1972. His kinetic work of art is divided into a wooden bottom part housing the motorization and a PMMA box on top representing the logo of the Olympic Games in motion.
When the sculpture came to the Cologne University of Applied Sciences it had been in storage for several years. The owners wished to present the object in an operating state. A suitable conservation concept for the Olympia-Sculpture was developed with the principal aim of showing the artwork the way the artist had imagined it.
When translating the concept into action it became clear that the wide range of materials used on the object required numerous different approaches and conservation methods. The main focus of this treatment laid on the restoration of the damaged motorization. However, other aspects, like the adhesion of polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) or the consolidation of degraded cellulose varnish, had to be addressed. Since there is no detailed docu- mentation on the speed and the duration of the artwork’s movement, this information is irrevocably lost. This demonstrates the importance of new ways of documentation for kinetic art, e.g. filming motion sequences. Finally, a method for the reconstruction of the motorization was found, which made it possible to present the sculpture in a way close to the artist ́s intentions.