Development of techniques for the conservation and restoration of electrographic works


Contemporary artistic production is characterized by the use of very varied techniques and materials. Too often, this assumes that the works deteriorate very quickly, causing their loss. The electrographies developed between 1960 and 1990 are an example of artistic creativity whose results are at risk because they were developed with techniques and materials whose long-term behavior was unknown. The result is that this heritage, whose value increases steadily with the passage of time, is seriously and inexorably threatened.

The restoration deals with unique works, not only in a philosophical but also technical sense. Research on generic value sources (the history of paper techniques in the second half of the 20th century, studies on the basic behavior of diazotypes, studies on the degree of curling of a thermographic paper or analysis on the nature of a group of inks from the first photocopiers, for example) are necessary, but not sufficient, to complete a work of conservation and restoration.

For this, it is absolutely necessary to carry out tests on works similar to the work to be treated, and, ultimately, on the work itself. In this sense, to restore always implies a risk, because knowledge in applied restoration always has something of inductive and deductive simultaneously. For this same reason, contact with restorers with experience in works similar to those treated is a crucial source of information. In summary, to guarantee, or at least substantially improve, the medium and long-term preservation of this part of our artistic heritage (whose value increases steadily over time), this project has the following objectives:

  1. Know the physical, chemical and aesthetic nature of the most representative electrographies belonging to the CAAC collections.
  2. Characterize the reactions of the most representative pieces before the most common environmental deterioration agents.
  3. Characterize the reactions of the selected pieces before the most common and / or predictably applicable restoration treatments.
  4. Define the best conditions of conservation and exhibition for the pieces of the selected typologies.
  5. Design restoration strategies for the pieces of the selected typologies, as far as possible verified by the application of real treatments.