Curriculum Vitae: Lars Gerdmar
Icon Painter, Painting Restorer, Independent scholar of Art History
Education 1976-95 and research 1986-2009
Monastery of our Saviour and Mother of God in Chora) Financed by The Harald and Louise Ekmans Research Foundation.
1976-79: Studies in practice and theory of the icon-art under the Finnish icon painter Erland Forsberg.
1980-95: Studies in Lund, Sweden in the history, aesthetics, painting tech-niques and theology of the art of icons, privately supervised by Professor Bo Ossian Lindberg, Åbo Akademi University, Finland, art historian and resear-cher, expert on the materials and techniques of ancient art and Professor Per Beskow, religious- and church historian, Lund University, Sweden, rese-archer and grand old man in our country in the field of Patristics (the theology of the Church fathers from the 4th until the 8th century).
1981: Was accepted as private pupil to Professor Leonid Ouspensky (1902–1987), Paris, Iconologe and internationally the most important icon painter in the classical Russian style in the 20th century (see Theology of the Icon, volume I and II, New York 1992), which he later on, due to sickness, had to cancel. Instead, a few years before his death, he recommended me to his former pupil Helena Nikkanen, well-known icon restorer and head of Centre for Restoration of Church art, Monastery of New Valamo (Uusi Valamo), Finland (See below: 1985).
1985: 14/1-30/5 The mentioned private education in icon painting under Helena Nikkanen, Centre for Restoration of Church art, Monastery of New Valamo (Uusi Valamo), Finland
1990-95: Studies in painting conservation under supervision of Åsa Sandberg, and Magnus Wilhborg (see below under ”Conservation projects” 1990-92 and 1995). At the beginning of these studies I could count in my then already 14 years of experience as an icon painter and the theoretical and practical knowledge I had acquired in old painting techniques as they are used in ancient Byzantine art and in Medieval Italian art.
1986: 15/2–30/5 Research project in Italy: Studies of early and medieval art – the painting technique, partly financed by The Crafoord Foundation.
1989: 1/3-30/4 Research project in Italy: Studies of medieval painting technique, partly financed by The Crafoord Foundation.
1996/7: 1/8 1996 – 15/1 1997 Research project at The Swedish Institute in
Rome and other places in Italy: Italian early and medieval Christian art –
historical and painting technical relation to Byzantine idiom. Financed by
Fondazione Famiglia Rausing.
2002: 1/10-20/12 Research project i Egypt and Ethiopia – intercultural and
ecumenical inter change on icon/church art. Studies of iconography, aesthe-
tics and painting technique of Coptic respective Ethiopian Orthodox sacred
art. Partly finansed by The Crafoord Foundation.
2005: 10/5-17/5 Research place at the Swedish Institute in Istanbul:
Studies of the pictorial program in Kariye Djami (earlier called The
2006: 1/11 Got my long-standing research on the history, theology and
aesthetics of Byzantine art official recognized after due examination by The
Swedish Research Council which, on November 1, granted me full
publication support without any remarks for my book on the art of icons:
Face to Face (Ansikte mot ansikte. Om de heliga ikonerna, Inowrocław, 2007).
Link to the decision-document (only in Swedish): VR's data base
27/11-5/12 Research place at the Swedish Institute in Rome: Studies of Palaeo Christian art and mosaics.
2008-9: 28/9 2008–27/4 2009 Research project in Egypt and in Ethiopia, at Institute Dominicain Etudie Orientale (IDEO), Cairo respective The Institute of Ethiopian Studies (IES), Addis Ababa University and in situ at a number of churches and monasteries for studies of Coptic and Ethiopian art: Studies of the of the Ethiopian Orthodox icon on wall, cloth and parchment, focused on Ethiopian sacred art, studied from liturgical, painting- and conservation technical viewpoint. Partly financed by The Crafoord Foundation, The Helge Ax-son Johnson Foundation and Harald och Louis Ekmans Research Foundation.
2009-10: 26/10 2009-16/4 2010 Continuous research project: Studies of the of the Ethiopian Orthodox icon on wall, cloth and parchment, at The Institute of Ethiopian Studies, Addis Ababa University and as field studies at churches studies in churches and monasteries in the Ethiopia highlands. The Crafoord Foundation, The Helge Ax-son Johnson Foundation.
3/5-22/10 and 8/11-22/12 Continuous research project in Lund, Sweden: Studies of the Ethiopian Orthodox icon on wall, cloth and parchment, index making of photographic documentation of ancient art and churches in Ethiopia and organizing note taking done during above mentioned field studies.
2011: 3/1-25/2 Research: Tradition and Innovation - the aesthetics and painting techniques of the art of icons, on account of an article with the same name (See particulars below ”Publications”.)
Selected conservation projects in Sweden
and in Ethiopia 1990-2009
Konservatorer Sandberg AB, Sweden, is a well-established group of painting restorers active in the ancient churches and cultural buildings in Skåne (the most southern region of Sweden) since many years ago. The group consisted until some years into the third millennium of Åsa Sandberg (+ 2004), Lars Sandberg and Magnus Wilhborg (+ 2008), and was during several years tied to stiftelsen Skånehantverk (The Skåne Handicraft Foundation), Landskrona. As evident from below I have, in my own firm (estbl. 1994) to the most part been working within this group, and then almost entirely together with Åsa Sandberg and Magnus Wihlborg, and also just together with Magnus Wilhborg, who later on established his one-man firm Magnus Wilhborg Målerikonservering AB.
As I have had the privilege to work within already well established business within the field of painting conservation in Sweden, it has never been necessary for me to stand as responsible otherwise than together with my colleagues.
Exept for the conservation project in 1992 in the Cathedral of Kalmar, Småland, which is one of the regions in the middle part of Sweden, all projects listed below was conducted in Skåne, the southernmost part of the country.
1990: The medieval church of Raus: Uncovering and conservation of murals from the 15th century. Ass. restorer, employed, under responsibility of Konservatorer Sandberg AB,
1991: The medieval church of Sireköpinge: Uncovering and conservation of Romanesque murals from the 11th century, partial retouching and reconstruction of ornamental painting. Ass. restorer, employed, under responsibility of Konservatorer Sandberg AB.
1992: The Cathedral of Kalmar: Conservation of the carved and the painted Baroque-altar piece from the 17th century. Ass. restorer, employed, under responsibility of Konservatorer Sandberg AB.
1995: The atrium hall of Lund University: Conservation and retouching of glue-painting in ceilings, partial reconstruction and regilding of stucko work from the 19th century. Ass. and partly independently working restorer, in my own firm, under responsibility of Konservatorer Sandberg AB
2005, 28/2-19/3: Accomplished on account of a planned pilot project of conservation of ancient sacred Etiopian art together with the Swedish building preservationist Petter Jansson a first preliminary ocular inventory of damaged wall paintings in 14 Etiopian Orthodox churches from the 6th to the 19th century. Published together with Jansson the same year a short report named Restoration in Ethiopia – presentation of a pilot project and a preliminary inventory of damages on the Inter net data base for Etiopian Art and Architecture Mäzgäbä Seelat. Please, find more information on this link: Report 2005
Grand Hotel, Lund, the banquet hall: Conservation of ornamental painting, regilding of fixtures, reconstruction of mould painting from the 19th century. Independently working restorer, in own firm, under responsibility of Konservatorer Sandberg AB.
1996: The medieval church of Gårdstånga: Partial conservation of medieval murals, cleaning of carved and painted sculptures done in the 17th century by the famous master Jacob Kremberg. Independently working restorer, in own firm, under responsibility of Konservatorer Sandberg AB.
The church of Sofia Albertina, Landskrona: Conservation of fixtures from the 19th century. independently working restorer, in my firm, under responsi- bility of Konservatorer Sandberg AB.
1997: The church of Norra Nöbbelöv: Taking down, conservation and puttting up of mural from the 19th century. Independently working restorer, in own firm, under responsibility of Magnus Wilhborg Målerikonservering AB.
1998: Villa Banchska, Helsingborg: Conservation and partly reconstruction of glue paintings in the ceilings from the 19th century. Independently working restorer, in own firm, under responsibility of Konservatorer Sandberg AB.
2003: The medieval church of Bjuv: Conservation and regilding of carved sculptures from the 18th century. Independently working restorer, in my own firm, under responsibility of Magnus Wilhborg Målerikonservering AB.
The church of St. Andreas, Helsingborg: Conservation of ornamental ceiling painting from the 19th century. Independently working restorer, in my own firm, under responsibility of Magnus Wilhborg Målerikonservering AB.
2004: House of the People, Helsingborg: Restoration of 19th century wall paintings in team with the painting restorer Carmen Deas. independently working restorer, in my own firm, under responsibility of Magnus Wilhborg Målerikonservering AB.
The medieval church of Hörby: Conservation and retouching of the carved and painted altar piece and pulpit done in 1662 by the famous German master Statius Otto. Independently working restorer in team with the painting restorer Carmen Deas, in own firm, under responsibility of Magnus Wilhborg Målerikonservering AB.
2005: The church of All Saints, Lund: Restoration and partial reconstruction of ornamental- and mould paintings in ceilings and on walls. independently working restorer, in my own firm, under responsibility of Lars Sandberg, Konservatorer Sandberg AB.
2008-10: Established, in capacity of project manager, during long stay in the country, for the (above- and below) mentioned project in Ethiopia within the cultural, ecclesiastical and academically life on national as well as regional and local level this one and created an extensive network, i.e. with Authority for Research and Conservation of Cultural Heritage (ARCCH), Ministry of Culture, Addis Ababa and its regional subdivisions, the Patriarchate of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and their regional and local church offices in the Ethiopian highlands as well as with academic key figures and institutions within the fields of history, art and cultural heritage.
2009, 3/2-2/3: Accomplished on account of above mentioned pilot project of conservation with the purpose of preparing this one together with a stone restorer and a building preservationist from Sweden another ocular inventory of damaged wall paintings with focus on five representative ancient churches in the Ethiopian highlands.
8-15/11: Directed on account of mentioned project of conservation an ocular and technical examination of damages on building and painting in the church of Debre Selam Mikael (prel. date. 8th to 11th century), chosen for this project, situated at the Atsbi plateau, Tigrai, northern Ethiopia. The participants besides undersign was PhD, Civil Engineer Karl-Gunnar Olsson, Lund, Sweden, specialized on building construction and their stability, teacher at the education in architecture, Chalmers University och Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden and Painting Restorer Carmen Deas, specialized on ancient Latin and Byzantine wall painting. Read more Karl- Gunnar Olsson and Carmen Deas and Photographic presentation in Swedish
2010: Prepared and wrote together with above mentioned Civil Engineer Karl-Gunnar Olsson and Painting Restorer Carmen Deas: Report on Ocular and Technical Examination of Buildings and Paintings. The Church of Debre Selam Mikael, Tigrai, November 2009 (see below ”Publications”).
14/6: Founded interim in Lund, Sweden, together with Professor Samuel Rubenson, Lund University, Civil Engineer Karl-Gunnar Olsson and Painting Restorer Carmen Deas, The Society for the Conservation of the Ethiopian Cultural Heritage (SCECH). The aim of this society are inter alia: ”To work for Conservation in Ethiopia – a Pilot project and the development of a long-term program for conservation and education regarding the care and preservation of ancient religious art and architecture in Ethiopia, with starting points in different professions and in co-operation with institutions and colleagues in Ethiopia”. Learn more: SCECH: members and activities: conservation, education, research, documentary and Charter for SCECH
2011 Prepared in Sweden in team with Dr., Civil engineer Karl-Gunnar Olsson, Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg and Painting restorer Carmen Deas and SCECH's consultativ as well as organized the conservation of murals in the church of Debre Selam Mikael, Tigrai, Ethiopia.
10/5-5/7 Composed on
part-time texts and edited photos for SCECH’s website, designed in
collaboration with the web master and it-technician Johan Arvidsson. The
website was opened on July 5: SCECH Site and Blog
1/9-25/9 Prepared and
organized in Addis Ababa the practical issues which corresponded to
above-mentioned conservation in Ethiopia which unfourtunately, due to a sudden
resistance, on October 10 was interrupted.
Had in Addis Ababa appointments with several important representatives for the
Ethiopian cultural and academic life as Professor Richard, Professor Shiferaw
Bekele and General Director of Authority for Research and Conservation, Addis
Ababa, which convinced the board of SCECH to continue our conservation project
and move this one to another site.
2012 Participated in the planning and the
conservation technical preparation for a restart of Conservation in Ethiopia
– a Pilot project starting with a preliminary examination of the
medieval church of Yemrehanne Krestos, outside Lalibela. This examination, with
the same team that conducted the examination in Debre Selam Mikael 2009,
amplified by the MA architect Tadesse Girmay, active in the field of
architectural conservation, Addis Ababa University, and the restorer Peder
Bøllingtoft, Head of Department at the School of Conservation, Copenhagen, in
close collaboration with Bøllingtoft’s department at The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Schools of Architecture, Design and
Conservation, Copenhagen, Denmark, is planned to take place in
Conducted October 13-17 mentioned preliminary examination of the church of Yemrehanne Krestos: read more
Selected artistic commissions and exhibitions
1989: Altarpiece with five separate motifs, The Benedictine Monastery of Östra Sönnarslöv, Sweden (moved to Mariavall, Österlen, Sweden, renamed to Jesu Moder Marias kloster: Monastery of the Mother of Jesus).
The triptych Christ in Glory, The Church of Nybro, Sweden.
1994: The triptych Anastasis-Uppståndelsen (Anastasis-Resurrection), The church of Maria Magdalena, Lund, Sweden (210 x 330 cm).
1998: Sankta Theresa av Jesusbarnet och det heliga Ansiktet (Saint Therese of the child of Jesus and the holy Face), the Cathedral of Almunêcar, Spain (75 x 60 cm)
1999: Korsvägen och Uppståndelsen (The way of the Cross and the Resurrection), 15 separate motives, the church of Saint Lars, Uppsala, Sweden.
2000: Den troende Kristus (The enthroned Christ), the church of Tuolluvaara, Kiruna, Sweden (130 x 106 cm).
2001: Altarskåpet Majestas Domini (altarpiece with five motifs), the church of Saint Thomas of Aquinas, Lund, Sweden, (204 x 340 cm).
2002: Birgitta-ikonen Sancta Birgitta – Compatrona Europae, (Saint Bridget – Patron Saint of Europe) commissioned by the Swedish Catholic and Lutheran churches as gift to Pope John Paul II before the great Bridget-jubilee the year after, delivered on a solemn service in the church of Saint Peter, Rome. The Vatican (49,5 x 34 cm).
2006: Triptyken Jakobs brottning med Guds ängel (Jacobs wrestling with God), the house of rehabilitation Jabboks Vad, Sweden.
2008: Den rättfärdiga Rut med sonen Obed (The Righteous Rut with the son Obed), for the wandering exhibition ”Ansikte mot ansikte” (Face to Face), (52 x 42 cm).
2009: Tecknets Gudsmoder (Our Lady of the Sign) the church Bräkne-Hoby, Sweden, 80 x 74 cm).
2010: Uppståndelsen (The Resurrection), The chapel of Saint Olof, the prison of Skänninge, Sweden (85 x 68 cm).
The most part of these icons are displayed on this internet net site and can by seen on: Gallery
2004: My Inter net gallery IMAGO NOVA IKONGALLERI was re-opened after new web design, updating of commentaries and new icon motives (First opened 2000). Here the most part of my production is displayed.
2006-7: Painted 12 icon motives for my wandering exhibition ”Ansikte mot ansikte” (Face to Face). The wandering exhibition ”ansikte mot ansikte” have in Sweden been displayed on the following places:
2007: The church of Härlanda, Gothenburg 2-30/9 (at the International Book Fair);
Sigtunastiftelsen (The Sigtuna Foundation) 1-30/10 (at the 90year-jubilee);
The Cathedral of Uppsala, 2-30/11
2008: The Cathedral of Lund, 27/1- 4/5 (2008-9)
The Cathedral of Skara (1/6 – 17/8)
Nya Slottet (The New Castle, conference- and retreat centre)
2009: The Cathedral of Linköping, 1/6-6/9.
2009-10: Egypt, Anafora Retreatfarm (international ecumenical centre within the Coptic Church, situated in the desert of Egypt, north of Cairo,) 1/10-30/1 (2009-10)
2010: Israel, Jerusalem, Swedish Christian Study Centre (ecumenical centre located in the Old Town of Jerusalem) 3/2-30/5 2010).
With beginning in 2013 this exhibition will be displayed during twelve moths in Norway at the following places: The Cathedrals of Oslo, Bergen and Nidaros and at Menighetsfakulteten (the Theological University in Oslo).
Publications: publicised, in process and planned
Ansikte mot ansikte. Om de heliga ikonerna (Face to Face – On the holy icons) Inowroclaw 2007, 310 s. (Content: The history, aesthetics, painting techniques and theology of the art of icons.) Published upon full publishing grant from Vetenskapsrådet (The Swedish Research Council). Presentation of the book Face to Face
Ikonen – närvaro och källa. Essäer om ikonen som liturgisk konst och personlig dialogbild (The Icon – presence and source. The icon as liturgical art and image of personal dialogue), Inowroclaw 2011, 132 s. Five essays: Samuel Rubenson, Per Beskow, Britt-Inger Johansson, Lars Gerdmar, Paul Meyendorff, editor Lars Gerdmar. Published upon grants by Samfundet Pro Fide et Christianismo, Sigtunastiftelsen och Vera Sagers stiftelse.
Ethiopia – The Holy Ark. Art on wall, wood and parchement (working title), ca 300 s. Accepted in beforehand by Sekel Publishing Firm, Lund, Sweden. Is written in both Swedish and English for international publ. Planned publ. 2012/13. Read: Letter of Recommendation by Professor Richard Pankhurst and Bo Ossian Lindberg
Ansikte mot ansikte II. Meditationer (working title, Face to Face II. Meditations), ca 200 p. Accepted in beforehand by Sekel Publition Firm, Lund, Sweden. Planned to be written 2012-13, planned publishing 2013/14
Imago Nova Ikongalleri: www.imagonova.com Innumerable articles and pictorial commentaries, opened 2000. The gallery is completed continuously with new articles and commentaries.
Restoration in Ethiopia – presentation of a pilot project and a preliminary inventory of damages in fourteen Ethiopian churches, Internet publ. Mäzgäbä Seelat: ”Publications” 2005, 17 s.
Mandorlan – abstrakt form och encyklopedi (The Mandorla – abstract form and encyclopaedia), ”Förbistringar och förklaringar – Festskrift till Anders Piltz” (A miscellany in honour of Professor em. Anders Piltz), Kristianstad, 2008, 11 s.
Ikonen är en spegel (The Icon is a mirror), editor Susanna Popova, 2007-12-07 – 2008-01-8, 10 s.
Report on Ocular and Technical Examination of Buildings and Paintings. The Church of Debre Selam Mikael, Tigrai, November 2009, Lars Gerdmar, Karl-Gunnar Olsson, Carmen Deas, Lund 2010, 56 s.
Tradition och innovation – Ikonens estetik och måleriteknik (Tradition and Innovation – The aesthetics and painting techniques of the icon) p. 59-104. ”Ikonen – Närvaro och källa. Essäer om ikonen som liturgisk konst och personlig dialogbild” (The Icon – presence and source. The icon as liturgical art and image of personal dialogue), Inowroclaw 2011, red. Lars Gerdmar, co-authors: Samuel Rubenson, Per Beskow, Britt-Inger Johansson, Paul Meyendorff, Inowroclaw 2011, 132 s.,
Debre Selam Mikael – ett kulturellt biståndsprojekt (Debre Selam Mikael – a cultural aid project) Signum, nr 2. 2011, 7 s.
SCECH’s Site and Blog: www.conservationinethiopia.org
A number of artic-les and presentations, opened, July, 2011.
References: Link to further References
Bo Ossian Lindberg
The Department of Art History
Turko Akademi University
1st Building Preservationist
The Regional Museum of Kristianstad
of Sweden, Skåne, Lund
Lars Gerdmar & I M A G O N O V A
Address: Hantverksgatan 8 A,
SE-227 36 Lund, SWEDEN
Phone to/in Sweden: +46 (0)46 389723
Phone to/in Ethiopia: 00251 (0)912 917672
Icon Gallery: www.imagonova.com