Eva Hesse Addendum dates from 1967 and it has been shown in galleries and museums around the world since 1979. The sculpture features a softwood box covered with a layer of papier mâché. Several ropes extend out of seventeen hemispheres in papier mâché, which are placed at defined intervals with a spacing progression.
In this artwork Hesse explored seriality. Addendum is considered the most significant sculpture of the artist, and it is indeed the most ambitious in papier mâché before shifting to more ephemeral material such as rubber and latex. The conservative issue of the sculpture is related to the presence of soil and dirt, specially on rope ends and on the papier mâché section. With the aim of finding the most suitable cleaning procedure, several tests were carried out.
At first, TATE conservators and researchers put lots of efforts in understanding the exact composition of the materials used in this artworks. On the basis of this information, mockups were prepared and soiled, to be used for evaluating different cleaning options. These included commonly used materials such as deionized, adjusted and buffered waters, chelating agents and surfactants, and a range of established gels as well as more novel systems, including gels developed within the Work Package 2 of the NANORESTART project.
Each cleaning method was tested in a systematic way, and after a long and accurate work, PVA-based hydrogels, tailored to this particular application by CSGI researchers, were chosen to be used for the removal of indoor soil from the sculpture.
After restoration with this innovative method, developed within the EU project NANORESTART, Addendum is now back on display on TATE Modern in London.
If you want to know more, please visit the NANORESTART section on the TATE Modern website.
(Text adapted from the original web page of the Tate Modern webesite.)