Lena Demary, M.A.

Universitätsstr. 105
44789 Bochum
Room: UNI 105, 3/28

Phone: +49 (0) 234/32-27279
E-Mail: Lena.Demary@ruhr-uni-bochum.de


Title of the Dissertation

Wholenesses of the Fragmentary: The Documentary in the Field of Sculpture, Restoration and Discourse between 1750 and 1820 (WT)

Project Description

In modern restoration, the documentary has established and developed itself in many ways. This already begins with the objects to be restored, the works of art, which, understood as historical documents, require appropriate handling. Restoration itself can be understood as a documenting practice. This can also be proven by the transferability of the guiding documentary values – representation, objectivity and evidence – to the claim of restoration.  Traceability and documentation of all measures taken are now considered the standard of scientific restoration. The culmination of this unfolding of the documentary, which is also determined by digitization, is marked by current projects, such as the “Backup Ukraine” initiative. 

Using the example of the genre of sculpture, the dissertation examines the roots of this documentary claim within practice and theory of restoration and pursues the hypothesis that the onset of documentary practices also marked the beginning of a scientification of the discipline. The fact that the years between 1750 and 1820 represent a highly relevant threshold moment in the history of restoration, especially in the field of sculpture, is due to several circumstances. Increasing excavation activities (the excavation of Herculaneum began in 1738 and of Pompeii in 1748) fueled, especially in Italy, an already long-practiced repair of antiquities. At the end of the century, the iconoclasms of the French Revolution in turn resulted in countless destroyed funerary monuments, facade sculptures, busts and monuments, which consequently caused an increased need for restoration. Around and after 1800, in the context of (English) Romanticism, there is then an intensified examination of the specifics of the fragment. This revision of the fragmentary also resulted from a reformation of the relationship between artwork and viewer.

Parallel to this, a change took place, justified by various discourses, which elevated works of art from objects of primarily functional character to components of cultural identity and to objects of historical and scientific significance. In restoration, a distinctive claim to truth or authenticity thus emerged. It is in this context, in turn, that the emergence of documentary practices should be seen, which were motivated by nothing other than the purposeful search for and recording of the “true” work, its aesthetics and history. Examples of the first documentary practices can be found in the Raccolta d’antiche statue, buste, bassirelievi ed alter sculture, restaurate da Bartolomeo Cavaceppi (1768-1772) by the Italian sculptor and restorer Bartolomeo Cavaceppi or the Description historique et chronologique des monumens de sculpture réunis au Musée impérial des monumens français (1795-1806) by Alexandre Lenoir.

In the context of these complex developments, the documentary is examined as a symptom of the professionalization and scientification of restoration between 1750 and 1820. A special focus is on the fields of tension within restoration that become visible during the research and which open up between selection and completeness or authenticity and staging, whereby parallel questions must also be asked about the delimitability of these areas. In this way, the project contributes to the history of restoration that is both complementary and corrective and explores the beginnings of what today seems to be a self-evident scientific orientation of the discipline.

Scholarly Career

  • Since 10/2022: Researcher (doctoral candidate) in the DFG post-graduate program “The Documentary. Excess and Withdrawal”, Ruhr University Bochum
  • 07/2020 to 06/2022: Research Volunteer of the Gustav-Lübcke-Museum Hamm
  • 10/2017 to 03/2020: Master’s degree in History of Art, Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf
  • 10/2014 to 09/2017: Bachelor’s degree in History of Art (main) and Philosophy (subsidiary), Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf


  • Demary, Lena (ed.): Hans Kaiser: Wirklichkeiten. Die Sammlung im Gustav-Lübcke-Museum, Catalogue for the exhibition „Hans Kaiser: Im Dazwischen“ (Gustav-Lübcke-Museum Hamm), Köln 2022
  • Demary, Lena/ Tazuke-Steininger, Nana/ Eick, Eva Caroline et al.: “Museum of the Future”: A Manifesto?, in: HERE AND NOW at Museum Ludwig. together for and against it, Catalogue for the exhibition (Museum Ludwig Köln), S. 182-197, to be published in winter 2022
  • Wiener, Jürgen/ Köpf, Reinhard (eds.): Moderne Glasmalerei in Düsseldorf, Mönchengladbach 2021, Written entries: Wilhelm Teuwen, Walther Benner, Ernst Otto Köpke, Emil Glücker und Günter Peltzer


  • “Ganzheiten des Fragmentarischen: Das Dokumentarische im Spannungsfeld von Skulptur, Restaurierung und Diskurs zwischen 1750 und 1820”, presented as part of the Research Colloquium of the Institute of Art History and Archaeology, Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (23.11.2022)
  • „Nur Entwurf? Zur Bedeutung der Vorstudie bei Hans Kaiser“, presented as part of the symposium „In progress! Zum Vor- und Nachleben von Glasmalerei nach 1945“, Gustav-Lübcke-Museum Hamm (18.02.2022)
  • „Because we do not like the authentic state? Das Authentische im Spannungsfeld von Restaurierung und musealer Forschung“, presented as part of the lecture „Forschung im Museum“, Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf (15.12.2021)

Organisation of Events

  • „Hans Kaiser: Im Dazwischen“, Exhibtion, 05.06.2022 to 04.09.2022, Gustav-Lübcke-Museum Hamm
  • „In progress! Zum Vor- und Nachleben von Glasmalerei nach 1945“, Symposium on the occasion of the restoration of Hans Kaiser’s drafts for the Dickinson Window in the Washington National Cathedral, 18.02.2022, Gustav-Lübcke-Museum Hamm
  • „Verwandlungen des Lichts: Die Glasmalerei im Œuvre Hans Kaisers“, University Course in collaboration with Dr. Reinhard Köpf, Department of Art History, Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, Summer Term 2021


  • 10/2016 to 10/2019: Fellowship „Deutschlandstipendium“ (fellowship holder of the Herzog Erik von Arenberg Stiftung)
  • Membership: Association of German Art Historians