SYNAGOGUE DECORATIONS IN PRESENT-DAY UKRAINE: PRACTICE IN PRESERVATION OF CULTURAL AND ARTISTIC HERITAGE
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There are approximately ten historical synagogue buildings left in Ukraine today which continue, to varying extents, to preserve their original wall paintings and decoration. A number of these were only recently discovered. The attempts underway, beginning in the early 2000s, to preserve as well as uncover old paintings often produces the opposite effect, destroying authentic works. The cultural significance of these historical landmarks requires that they be included in a single international register, along with supervision and an agreed upon preservation program designed individually for each. Synagogue wall paintings will inevitably perish unless ways of transferring this heritage are sought that will move these works to a different and more reliable “medium of cultural memory”. Different, innovative approaches to museum preservation and ways of presenting these works to public view are called for. Among the tried and tested options are: reconstructing old synagogue interiors which contain wall or ceiling paintings; using motifs taken from the original paintings in new works being produced for the Jewish community; and work on exhibition projects, catalogues and two-dimensional reconstruction models.
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