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Subject: Survey on sustainable practice

Survey on sustainable practice

From: Jan Dariusz Cutajar <hildikelmar<-a>
Date: Friday, July 25, 2014
I am a UCL Masters student, currently on the MA Principles of
Conservation programme.

I am currently writing my thesis on the extent of chemical
sustainability within the conservation lab and am conducting an
anonymous survey to evaluate the views of practising conservators.
If you practice conservation within the lab environment and have
10-15 minutes to spare, I would highly appreciate it if you could
share your opinions:

    English version: <URL:>
    Italian version: <URL:>

Should you wish to contact me further on the subject, I would be
very happy to hear your queries at jan.cutajar.13<-a t->ucl< . >ac< . >uk

Jan Dariusz Cutajar
University College London

From: Sara Moy <moy.sara<-a t->gmail< . >com>
Query:  Installation/sculpture containing pork fat

Installation/sculpture containing pork fat

My involvement with a particularly challenging project has prompted
me to seek any suggestions, insight or advice you might be able to

As background, a work measuring approximately 663 cm x 372 cm x 88
cm or 21.75 feet x 12.20 feet x 2.88 feet (H x W x D) was recently
donated to our museum.  Although I have not yet seen the piece, I
will have that opportunity next week.  With that in mind, I
apologize in advance for the obvious lack of detailed information
relative to its construction and condition.

The work is constructed of welded angle iron bars and glass panels,
and the resultant structure is filled with visceral pork fat.
Essentially, it is an enclosed glass box that contains decomposing
fat and weighs a few tons(?).  The fat sits on perforated panels,
and drips its decomposing mass into the empty space below.  The
upper portion of the construction pierces the roof of the building,
which facilitates its exposure to natural light and other outdoor
conditions.  The difficulties associated with the piece include its
having been constructed in situ (site specific, and erected 2004)
within an industrial building in China.  Not only does the building
lack adequate environmental controls, it is also scheduled for
demolition in August 2014.  Additionally, the iron structure is
heavily corroded, the glass is covered with crust on the inside and
out, and the condition of the fat it contains is unknown.  Aside
from its size, weight, organic content and overall condition, the
challenges associated with removing and transporting the piece
through Beijing, as well as the difficulty involved with exporting
it from the country, are enormous.  In addition, the artist has
withdrawn from the art world, has not produced another work since
2008, and does not participate in any exhibitions in any capacity.

In light of all this, could this work be consigned to die with the
building?  As a conservator charged with protecting and preserving
cultural property, could I concede to that eventuality?
Tangentially, since the artist seems relatively unconcerned about
the loss of the original piece, could we facilitate its "rebirth"
assuming we can get the artist's approval?  If so, how when the
artist has remained inactive for so long?  Can the subsequent piece
be considered the same work?  Following many exhaustive
conversations involving our director and team of curators, the
matter remains unresolved.  In the interim, we intend to document
the work to the best of our ability and seek the artist's active
participation in our related decision-making processes.

Do you see any other alternatives?  Have we somehow missed the
obvious in our attempts to solve this problem?  I look forward to
receiving any input you can offer in this complex matter.

Sara Moy
M+, Museum for Visual Culture
+852 2200 0002

                  Conservation DistList Instance 28:8
                   Distributed: Friday, July 25, 2014
                        Message Id: cdl-28-8-006
Received on Friday, 25 July, 2014

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