A muse inspires while a lover enjoys, but it is a mother that nurtures and protects. In the art world there are many muses and lovers that entice and enthrall artists, but few “care givers” to help protect their creations. This slightly less visual yet crucially important task is the baby (pun intended!) of the Art Restorer.
At times a work of art might need to be revived through skilled restoration techniques, but as prevention is better than cure, art can also be preserved through chemical and scientific conservation techniques. Perhaps making this field slightly more scientific in nature, but it’s the love involved during the process that essentially links it with the nurturing aspects of parenthood;
Indonesia is a country with an abundance of ancient cultures, artifacts and artisans’ relics to restore from past generations. It is also a hive for raw, young and upcoming artists needing to preserve their work for future generations. Art reflects on the past and present as it imitates life, but the insight to glance forward to the future is of vital importance. In the world where globalization can often neglect aesthetic ethnic preservation and authenticity, the services of a restorer adds value to any new and old art piece.
One such” mother” or restorer, I have had the honor of meeting, is the benevolent Italian national named Michaela Anselmini. Being a cum laude graduate from the Artistic School and a certified restorer of antique and modern art by Vedeco in Milan makes her au fait for the task at hand. It is however her years of experience and accolades in past projects that impressed the crème de la crème of the art world and has made her almost a celebrity in this obscure field and closed circle in Europe.
Looking into Michaela’s big blue eyes can be mesmerizing, as it reflects the extraordinary tales of what her hands have touched and healed through the years. As a fresh graduate she immersed herself in her craft by restoring antique art at Comolli Luca’s Restoration while broadening her field of interest and expertise in preserving modern, contemporary art at the studio of Renata Knes. It did not take a free independent spirit like hers much time to establish her own studio where her clientele included the prominent galleries and artists of the Italian art panorama. Remaining the bailiwick within her field has inspired her to continually update her knowledge by attending seminars and courses that introduce the latest techniques and products available to restorers.
Her adventurous nature has made her spread her wings to live and work in other countries besides her homeland of Italy. She was even appointed as an art curator by the Minister of Tourism, Art and Culture in the Maldives! And in 2010 I had the luck to meet her on the island of the gods, Bali. In Ubud she was the manager of the art gallery Gaya Fusion, and among the list of her accomplishments is the opening of the Naka Contemporary Art Gallery in Seminyak. Word gets around in Bali, and an entrepreneur like her is an asset to any company. So it comes as no surprise that Biasa Art Space also saw the benefit of absorbing her talents and skills and presenting it to be utilized by the artistic community within the ring of fire. Unfortunately Indonesia has lost this surrogate mother of arts to another country, as she currently resides in Egypt and who knows where next?
Art in Asia.
Meantime back in the tropics of South East Asia weather conditions make it an ideal holiday destination all year round, but for artwork it’s a veritable torture chamber that accelerates the aging process to devastating and near fatal levels in no time flat. The high humidity creates the ideal breeding ground for fungi and bacteria that can completely transform a work of art into a piece of garbage. Canvasses stretch and acidity levels rise. Regardless if your medium is paint, ink or plaster the prognosis of the elements suggests only one thing… Disaster!
How Art is Restored and Preserved.
Methods and services provided by an art restorer include digital documentation, ultraviolet scanning, resin embedment, anti fungal treatments, hot and cold relining of canvases, and enzyme or anionic cleansing. For art made from gold, silver and copper gilding, by using the gauche method, is required. In actual fact, Michaela use to do all of this and much more. She has also been extremely generous in sharing her knowledge and ability, by explaining and illustrating to anybody who might be interested in this field of expertise, or who would just like to know how to take care of their art.
We take care of what we love. We take care of things that are valuable. An Art Restorer’s services are of cardinal importance to the preservation and conservation of art and humanity in general. If you plan to buy, export or import art in Indonesia, or anywhere in the world for that matter, make sure to consult an art restorer beforehand, or be prepared to cut your losses. To destroy art should actually be a federal offence as art should be adored the same way children aught to be.