LEIF HENSTAD’S MOSAIC

Conservation of the Leif Henstad’s mosaic at Rødtvet school in Oslo was done with the assistance of Oslo konserverings Atelier in 2016.

General information about the mosaic

ARTIST: Leif Henstad
TITLE: Untitled
DATED: 1962
LOCATION: Rødtvet skole, Sandåsvn. 1 0956 Oslo
DIMENSIONS: height: 225 cm, width: 817 cm, thickness: 0,5 cm
Mosaic was made using glass tiles (3 shades of red, 3 shades of blue, 2 shades of orange, yellow, white and 3 shades of brown), hand cut into various sizes ranging from about 1×1 cm to 5×6 cm. Cement based adhesive was used to glue tiles to a cement board. Design represents seagulls flying from left to right on a blue (sky) and red and yellow (sun) background. The wall surrounding the mosaic is painted yellow.

Conservation of the mosaic

Base of the mosaic and the wall in which it was mounted, broke on numerous places, but was still stable. Adhesive used to hold the tiles was put only on the back of the tiles and not on their sides, in a thin layer (0,1-0,3 cm). It has lost its binding properties almost entirely and it began to crumble especially where the base cracked. Tiles were unstable, cracked or missing (several larger lacunas) with most of grout damaged, deteriorated and crumbling. Mosaic had no edge and the tiles on the edge had residues of three layers of wall paint and were unstable and loose. Tiles are not embedded in the wall, but rise 0,5 cm above it. Mosaic was previously repaired with glossy white tiles. Repair reflected the design and style of the original, but due to an use of synthetic white glue it was not in the level with the original, but several millimeters under it. In the attempt to unify the repair with the original, the glossy white tiles were painted in the matching color depending on their location. Paint deteriorated and with time was almost entirely lost leaving the repair visible and therefore disrupting the original design. Surface of the mosaic was dirty with scribbles and leftovers of paint from the wall. End of the right side of the mosaic is inside the wall of the room next to it, constructed sometime after the mosaic.

 

The base of the mosaic was injected, previous repairs were removed together with all loose and excessively damaged tiles. The original deteriorated grout was taken out as well. All of the lacunae were cleaned and prepared for the direct reconstruction. Deeper damages in the base were primed and filled with new mortar. The samples of the original tiles were used to order the new tiles for the reconstruction. All of the original unstable tiles were put back on their place, and the lacunae were reconstructed with new ones.