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Subject: Securing tiles to steel reinforced concrete sculpture

Securing tiles to steel reinforced concrete sculpture

From: Tom Dixon <tom.dixon>
Date: Thursday, October 2, 2003
I am needing to relocate an 18 meter (60 feet) high sculpture of an
abstract animal form consisting of steel reinforced concrete covered
with hand decorated, fired tiles attached with acrylic adhesive. The
sculpture has over 15 years of exposure to the elements and
deterioration of the grouting has allowed rainwater to enter the
spaces beneath the tiles and wash out and accelerate the
deterioration of the acrylic adhesive. The adhesive is failing and
tiles are beginning to fall.  External inspection indicates
approximately 1/4 of the tiles are not well attached to the concrete
supporting structure.  Limited internal inspection with a
fibre-optic viewer indicates the steel reinforcement is sound and
the interior of the piece dry.  The sculpture needs to be relocated
to a secure indoor warehouse where the tiles can be removed and
readhered and eventually relocated to another display location.  It
was originally made in three sections and will be hoisted by crane a
section at a time and moved by a special oversized truck. As is,
extensive loss of tiles would likely occur during the loading and
unloading of the sculpture.

I am looking for a mesh facing material which could be wrapped
around and/or adhered to the sculpture to hold loose and poorly
adhered tiles in place while it is being moved.  The sculpture is in
a location which makes it extremely difficult to cover to protect
from rain and access is problematic. A non-porous facing, such as
shrink-wrap, could result in water being trapped beneath the tiles
and further accelerating the deterioration in the event of rain, so
I think a mesh material would be preferable.

I'd be very grateful to hear from anyone with experience relocating
such an item.

Tom Dixon
National Gallery of Victoria
Melbourne Australia

                  Conservation DistList Instance 17:32
                  Distributed: Monday, October 6, 2003
                       Message Id: cdl-17-32-023
Received on Thursday, 2 October, 2003

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