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Video transcript

there is the scientific side of my job which is about investigating the materials and techniques of the artist there is the art historical the ethical the aesthetic side of my job so this is my tate conservation studio relocated to Beirut I came out in July to establish which objects in shoe care zone collection were suitable to travel safely to London for the exhibition I isolated seven paintings which were exhibiting signs of instability most apartments like the one we're in now are air conditioned but from nine o'clock in the morning until 12 o'clock in the afternoon every day there is an electrical curfew where all the air conditioning get switched off the temperature climbs very rapidly the relative humidity climbs very rapidly or drops very rapidly depending on the amount of moisture in the air if it's been raining that day and the paintings go into shock and as a consequence many of shoe cares paintings have exhibited cracking and loose paint the painting i'm working on at the moment is entitled composition it was made in 1951 the process involves applying a small amount of an adhesive I'm not introducing anything foreign I'm keeping everything very consistent and all my materials are very kindly they risk but react kindly to the object I'm using this machine here called a heated spatula heated to 50 degrees centigrade a 50 or 60 year old oil paint will not melt below 70 degrees centigrade not all the time but more often than not here we are in the laboratory at tate britain here in the studio we will be carrying out complete conservation and restoration treatments as an in exhibition conservation our brief is different it is to stabilize an object to ensure that there is no physical change to the object during the extent of the exhibition our brief is not to restore the objects purely to conserve them so we're not in any way encroaching on the aesthetic of the object as such merely dealing with the physical needs of the object in normal circumstances if you're working in an ass Department and the artist is present you would always try and engage them in conversation about how they make their objects what do they find what's important to them and it was sad and in some ways disappointing that I wasn't able to engage with salwar because she was so infirm but i also found her daughter holla to be an extraordinary resource for information of that kind you care was trained in Paris she had a classical painting training and she knew how to use her materials a lot is using an oil paint a classic oil paint construction they they expect their work to last that's why they've made it and not made it with something more ephemeral if a morality is usually fairly intentional if we're talking 50 years which is the kind of temporal cutoff point generally an oil paint is going to live way beyond that you