Fusion 2: Asia–Pacific Minimally invasive methods for the conservation of paintings’ textile supports

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In collaboration with the Getty Foundation’s Conserving Canvas Initiative, the Art Gallery of New South Wales will host Fusion 2: Asia–Pacific. This three-phase workshop focuses on minimally invasive treatment methods for the conservation of paintings’ textile supports, with an emphasis on the single-thread bonding technique of local tears, cuts and losses to reconstruct the physical and aesthetic integrity of canvases.

About the program
Fusion 2: Asia–Pacific will be led by specialists Petra Demuth (Germany), Hannah Flock (Germany) and Laura Eva Hartman (USA) and is intended for paintings conservators from the Asia–Pacific region.

Held in 2024–25, the workshop will be based on a pilot project, Fusion 1: mare nostrum, led by Demuth and Flock in 2021–22 at the Cologne Institute of Conservation Sciences (CICS), TH Köln - a collaboration between the Getty Foundation and the Technische Hochschule Köln. It will support the goals and strategies of the Conserving Canvas Initiative to expand the knowledge and skills for the structural care of paintings on textile supports.

Each of the 30 participants will attend the three workshop phases: four preliminary sessions held online, a five-day in-situ workshop at the Art Gallery and four follow-up online sessions.

The workshop will present best practice for the structural conservation of unlined and lined paintings through lectures, practical demonstrations and hands-on sessions, providing comprehensive insight into the philosophy behind these techniques, the ethical and aesthetic considerations, their benefits, and the materials and tools available.

The treatment methods that will be presented are based on multifaceted investigations, extensive testing of water-based adhesives (protein glues, cellulose ethers and synthetic resin dispersions) and decades-long practical experience. These methods are based on the principles of reversibility and ‘reworkability’ and are effective on unlined paintings as well as contemporary artworks. It is a holistic approach, which preserves the physical, aesthetic and historic integrity of paintings as well as considering their specific fragility and the artist’s original intent.

The workshop will be presented in English with the principles of cultural diversity and practices guided by the Art Gallery of New South Wales’ Diversity and Inclusion Policy.

Workshop dates
1–4 July 2024 Four preliminary online sessions (for all 30 participants)
22–26 July 2024 First in-situ five-day workshop (for 15 participants)
29 July – 2 August 2024 Second in-situ five-day workshop (for 15 participants)
September 2024 – January 2025 Four follow-up online sessions (for all 30 participants)

Conservation Lab, South Building
Art Gallery of New South Wales
Art Gallery Road
Sydney NSW 2000

Who may apply?
The workshop is intended for early- and mid-career paintings conservators from the Asia–Pacific region with an institutional affiliation, who are actively caring for their institution’s paintings collection.

More experienced conservators who can demonstrate their intention to further disseminate the techniques learnt from the workshop will also be considered.

Conservators who are working in museum environments or comparable institutions will be given preference. Private conservators regularly engaged in museum collections or in a museum environment may also apply.

The capacity to share the knowledge learnt during the workshop with colleagues within their institution or geographical area will be considered during selection.

Each in-situ workshop will welcome 15 participants, allowing a ratio of one instructor to five participants per workshop for optimal individual guidance.

Participants based outside Australia may need to obtain a visa to enter Australia. Successful applicants are responsible for their visa applications.

Participants will receive funding for travel, accommodation, visa and travel insurance costs.

How to apply
Applicants will be required to:
o Demonstrate previous theoretical and practical experience in the structural treatment of canvas and/or a special interest in such treatments
o Show interest in learning and applying new approaches and techniques
o Be able to apply the techniques and theories learnt during the workshop to a painting and present the treatment during follow-up meetings.

Applicants should submit the following:

o Name, contact details and their affiliated institution
o Detailed resume
o Letter of motivation (one page)
o Letter of recommendation from their affiliated institution/s showing support (one page)
o One or more case studies of previous structural treatments of canvas (see note 1)
o One selected painting on canvas that will be suitable for treatment during the follow-up period (see note 2)
o Official permission from the responsible director or curator of the artworks to:
- Share case studies of previous treatments
- Treat one painting during the follow-up period
- Publish documentation produced during the workshop such as photographs of artworks used by participants, including image rights
o Information about the technical set-up in their conservation lab, including the number and quality of stereo microscopes and their local electrical standards (voltage, etc).

1 For the case studies, the applicants will need to provide condition and treatment reports of their selected paintings and explain the rationale behind the treatment selection. These will be shared via a PowerPoint presentation by each participant during the in-situ session.
2 Selected candidates from private practices must have an assigned painting sourced from a public institution’s collection. Paintings from private collections will not be accepted.

Application deadline 17 October 2023
All application materials should be sent by email to workshop-fusion2@ag.nsw.gov.au

For more information, email workshop-fusion2@ag.nsw.gov.au or visit https://artgallery.nsw.gov.au/art/conserving-our-collection/fusion-2/

This workshop is made possible with support from Getty through its Conserving Canvas initiative.