Action painting regains its color in Florence. The Opificio delle Pietre Dure [OPD, Hard Stone Factory], one of the international gems in the field of restoration, was commissioned with the cleaning and preservation of “Alchemy”, one of Jackson Pollock’s first works created using the “dripping” technique with which the American painter transformed the relationship between artist and work of art.
In recent days, the managers of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, on exposition at the Palazzo Vernier dei Leoni in Venice, announced that the choice of the Florentine institute to recover the aesthetic qualities of the artwork, realized in 1947, which will require to restoring light to the now opaque colors, as well as the tri-dimensional effect created by Pollock’s technique. “It will be – explained Luciano Pensabene Buemi, in charge of the restoration project – one of the greatest cleaning operation ever performed on a piece of contemporary art: “Alchemy” will be subjected to a meticulous cleaning process for its complex pictorial surface, constituted by various layers of enamel, alkyd and oil paint, united with a combination of various materials, such as string, sand, and gravel, all combined into a thick paste, with clumps of paint, splashes, and drips.” For the Opificio, which responds to the Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities, it represents a recognition of their professionalism which also rewards the attention that, in recent years, the institute has been placing on pieces of contemporary art, in order to complete the excellence that for thirty years has characterized it in the realm of the artistic heritage from other epochs: Ruben’s two “Stories of Henry IV”, devastated by the 1993 attack, which also struck the Galleria degli Uffizi; Raffaello Sanzio’s “Madonna del cardellino”; and Pietro Mantegna’s “Trinita’” are among the pieces that required the action of the Opificio delle Pietre Dure in recent years. The institute is comprised of three restoration laboratories, all located in Florence, as well as a laboratory that specializes in physical, chemical, and biological. In addition, there is also a school of restoration.
The operation on “Alchemy” will required approximately one year, and the project will also include, besides the Opificio and the Guggenheim of Venice, also the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, Perugia’s MOLAB (Mobile Laboratory for Research on Works of Art), the Optics CNR [National Research Center] in Florence, and the Laboratorio di Diagnositica [Diagnostics Laboratory] in Spoleto. “The piece will surely be on display in May 2015, in a homage event dedicated to Pollock,” announced the director of Venice’s Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Philip Rylands.