A Pandora’s Box? The Aluminium Boxes of Lourdes Castro and the conservation of contemporary art

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Two works by the Portuguese artist Lourdes Castro, Caixa Alumínio (Lagostins) and Caixa Alumínio (Óculos), both from 1962, were studied and conserved. Both works are assemblages, made with found objects of metal, plastic, wood, glass, cardboard, and ceramic that are glued together and coated with aluminium paint. The works were analyzed to identify the materials present and to characterize the degradation processes occurring. The artist was interviewed and provided important information about the materials and techniques employed and thoughts on several possible intervention scenarios. It was concluded that the problems observed resulted from the presence of inherently unstable materials (such as cellulose nitrate) and from the mixing of incompatible materials. The use of chloroprene glue on ferrous alloys was found to be a "dangerous liaison", which should be monitored carefully. The conservation treatment, which included the replacement of a pair of eyeglasses of cellulose nitrate by a replica using 3D scanning and printing techniques, is described.
Original languageUnknown
Title of host publication16th triennial
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2011
EventICOM-CC Triennieal Meeting -
Duration: 1 Jan 2011 → …


ConferenceICOM-CC Triennieal Meeting
Period1/01/11 → …

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