Conservation Strategies for Works of Art in Cellulose Acetate - Case Study of Two Plastic Artist's Books

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English
Type: 
Research and Development
Main researcher: 
no information
Team elements (%affectation): 
ICN - Instituut Collectie Nederland | Fundação de Serralves – Museu de Arte Contemporânea
Abstract: 

Two artists’ books of the 60s by Lourdes Castro, done in plastic materials based on coloured pages of cellulose acetate (CA) and poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA), are being studied in depth to characterise the materials, the state of conservation and the development of a suitable treatment methodology. Although similar, the books are in different states of repair – one is reasonably well-preserved but the other shows serious signs of wear and tear, with deformations and contractions due to physical and chemical deteriorations. The items need an urgent treatment plan and preventive conservation actions. A multidisciplinary team was created in the areas of the Applied Sciences and Conservation and Restoration to carry out scientific analyses and also outline a suitable treatment strategy. The type of plastic and the laminators present in the works were identified in the ICN laboratories through Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and pyrolisis-gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (Py-GC-MS). Currently being developed is a treatment methodology to flatten the deformed pages and chemically clean the items.

Activities: 

12 months (on-going)

Results: 

Preliminary results: Through the scientific FTIR and Py-GC-MS analyses we were able to identify all the plastic materials present in the two books. At the same time an investigation is on-going in the ICN laboratories into the ageing process of the CA sheets/pages. For this, artificial ageing methods were used so as to co-relate the results with those of the CA pages in the damaged books. Also underway are tests on models to flatten the CA pages. Although the results are promising, a treatment strategy will be outlined in consonance with the artist and the owner of the works.

State: 
Ongoing
Research group: 
Conservation Research
Summary: 

Two artists’ books of the 60s by Lourdes Castro, done in plastic materials based on coloured pages of cellulose acetate (CA) and poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA), are being studied in depth to characterise the materials, the state of conservation and the development of a suitable treatment methodology. Although similar, the books are in different states of repair – one is reasonably well-preserved but the other shows serious signs of wear and tear, with deformations and contractions due to physical and chemical deteriorations.
05/2014