In 2018, the year after Bloomberg London opened, ZTC was asked to set up a programme of condition checking, surface cleaning and ongoing collections care advice for the contemporary textile artworks commissioned for and permanently installed in the building. Our survey work has mainly focused on two large scale works – the vast tripart industrial tapestry designed by the American multimedia visual artist Pae White and the (even larger) felt acoustic panels by Venezulan artist Artura Herrera, both challenging in construction and scale.
Pae White’s ‘Pomona’ comprises of three polychrome panels exquisitely woven by Flanders Tapestry, Belgium. The panels, each approximately 3m x 12m, are fabricated from polyester, Lurex®, cotton and cashmere and are mounted with Velcro® onto curved metal bars around the perimeter of the round, pre-function space outside the auditorium. Herrera’s ‘Sortario’ ‘wall painting’ on the other hand, is in fact a grey and bright green appliqué felt wall covering, worked in two levels and adhered to a large, curved board. It is situated on the sixth floor, directly in front of enormous floor to ceiling windows and exposed to constant day light.
The objects are thoroughly assessed for condition change each year using a combination of visual analysis and digital documentation developed for large scale site work and honed with each survey to show changes from one year to the next. Our ongoing documentation process has allowed us to pinpoint specific areas of concern and put together a programme of care specific to each object. Survey results have led us to advise on pest activity, accidental spillage, how to improve current hanging mechanisms and control light levels as well as how to reduce dust levels to improve object longevity.
Artworks in a working building are far more vulnerable than those stored within museum collections and we have to adapt our conservation knowledge to navigate these tricky circumstances. As well as pre-empting future issues and mitigating them as far as possible, a thorough surface clean is the ideal opportunity to assess these vast objects at close range.
We work from ladders and mobile elevating work platforms to grid up the textiles ensuring a systematic and thorough approach to both the surface clean and condition survey.
Bloomberg form part of a group of ZTC corporate clients including Portcullis House, the Fishmonger’s Hall, the Ironmonger’s Hall, The Post House and the Exchange House. We have become quite adept at conservation in these less traditional spaces, often working at heights and hanging off scaffolding – in fact we relish the challenge of really large textile artworks and have the equipment and experience to deal with them.