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Wednesday, May 15 • 4:30pm - 5:00pm
(Electronic Media) The Use Of Technology For The Preservation Of Light-Kinetic Art: The Conservation Treatment On Three Strutturazioni Ritmiche By Gianni Colombo

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The conservation of kinetic-works is a challenge due to the necessity to strike a balance between the preservation of original materials and the functionality of the work. Through the conservation treatment of three Strutturazioni ritmiche by Gianni Colombo (1964), carried out at Istituto Superiore per la Conservazione e il Restauro in Rome, the present research aims at focusing on the approach to the conservation of light-kinetic art. Each of the three Strutturazioni consists in four (poly)methyl methacrylate (PMMA) transparent panels vertically inserted into an aluminium base inside of which four incandescent bulbs intermittently illuminate each sheet, emphasizing the geometrical patterns made through incisions and cuts on the plastic. Before the treatment, an important decay restricted the right perception of light effects, so the work was not exposed to the public for many years. The PMMA sheets could no longer perform their function as optical conductors due to scratches, losses, cracks, crazing and deformations caused by mechanical and thermal stresses. Moreover, the lighting systems not only had partially lost their functionality, but they were one of the main causes of deterioration of the artwork, due to the heat generated by the bulbs. What to do when original components of the work causes its degradation? Is the replacement of them a solution able to preserve the artwork without affects its authenticity? In contemporary art, and more so in kinetic art, the question is open. In this case, the great variety in constituent materials, as so often seen in kinetic works, involved broad interdisciplinary collaboration and saw the cooperation between contemporary art conservator restorers, experts in glass conservation, technical specialists in electronics and computerisation and in PMMA craftwork. Due to the complexity of the conservation problems, it was required a preliminary in-depth study on the artist and on the original light effects, as well as a market research on the materials. In this way, it was possible to define a conservative project in order to reactivate the functionality of the work respecting, at the same time, the original constituent materials. The solution adopted involved a new LED lighting system and exploited an up-to-date technology based on an open source electronic platform (Arduino) programmed to reproduce the original light effects of the artwork.

avatar for Maria Cristina Lanza

Maria Cristina Lanza

conservator restorer, freelance
Maria Cristina Lanza is a painting conservator-restorer specialized in contemporary art. She studied at the Istituto Superiore per la Conservazione e il Restauro (ISCR) in Rome, focusing her training on the conservation of paintings on wooden panels and canvas, wooden sculptures and... Read More →

Wednesday May 15, 2019 4:30pm - 5:00pm EDT
Passamaquoddy/Brothertown Rooms Sky Convention Center, Mohegan Sun
  Specialty Session, Electronic Media