STARTUP ARTGUARDIAN: THE GUARDIAN ANGEL FOR ART TREASURES Transporting and presenting art safely – ArtGuardian’s high-tech sensors protect the irreplaceable Unfavorable environmental conditions like exposure to UV radiation and strong temperature fluctuations expedite the deterioration of delicate artwork. Protecting these treasures from light or temperature damage means following the golden rule of “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” If you need to transport and exhibit art or cultural artifacts under optimal climatic conditions, technology from Berlin has the answer; the innovative sensor system from ArtGuardian GmbH measures local climate data and sends it to the web. of any restorer. For reasons of conservation, Dürer’s hare was forbidden to travel to Asia. However, thanks to this Berlin innovation, museums, private collectors and corporate collections can now safely exhibit works of art and send them all over the world as items on loan. Thus, equipped with the ArtGuardian system, Rembrandt’s Jacob Blessing the Sons of Joseph, which belongs to Museumslandschaft Hessen Kassel, was exhibited in London and Amsterdam from the end of 2014 to mid-2015. And restorer Johannes Noack is currently monitoring – from Berlin – a Sigmar Polke painting that is on exhibit in Palazzo Grassi in Venice. Many works of art are sensitive and require protection against changes in temperature. It all began with the most famous hare in the world. In 2007, the Albertina museum in Vienna wanted to lend Albrecht Dürer’s Young Hare to Asia and wondered how much light the precious watercolor could tolerate without suffering damage. The museum turned for help to the Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and Microintegration (IZM), where Dr. Stephan Guttowski had been at work developing tiny sensors. “I explained the situation to Johannes Noack, a restorer at Berlin’s Hamburger Bahnhof museum. When he also said ‘Good idea, it can be done,’ the project – the development of a climate-measuring device to be placed directly on a work of art – really began to materialize,” recalls the doctor of electrical engineering. Once financing was secured in 2011, IZM, along with other Fraunhofer institutes and partners like the Rathgen Forschungslabor, began working meticulously on the first-of-its-kind sensor system. Three years later, the research project became a company, when the Fraunhofer colleagues Dr. Stephan Guttowski, Jan Hefer and Dr. Volker Zurwehn founded ArtGuardian GmbH. “When climatic fluctuations occur, the various materials the artwork is comprised of often begin to work against one another, which, for instance, can cause paint to become brittle and flake off,” explains Stephan Guttowski as he describes the nightmare How does the high-tech system work, this technology the Fraunhofer Society promoted to the tune of 2.8 million euros? “Very thin sensors affixed to the back of the painting by a clip system continually measure climate data such as humidity and temperature. Light intensity and movement are also tracked, allowing ArtGuardian to help prevent theft as well,” explains CEO Guttowski. The data is transmitted to a base station and from there to a web-based information and communication platform. After logging in, the user can monitor, in real time, the conditions the artwork is exposed to locally. The guardian angel for art has recently expanded; it now functions not only on the frame of a painting, but also within a so-called climate protection envelope, in vitrines as well as in storage and filing cabinets. “Art- Guardian can now also monitor textiles, musical instruments, books and even mummies,” says Stephan Guttowski. In the future, the award-winning technology will expand beyond the borders of Europe; approval procedures are currently underway all over the world. es www.artguardian.com The ArtGuardian sensor monitors climatic fluctuations. Photos: 2p2play / Shutterstock.com, Janine Escher 26 BERLIN TO GO
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