Restoring Lumino-Kinetic art
Ce poster résume les principales étapes et les prises de décisions qui ont eu lieu dans l’étude et la restauration des deux « Mobiles Lumineux » de Nino Calos (1926-1990), conservés au Musée d’Art Moderne de la ville de Paris. L’article se centre essentiellement sur les problèmes du système lumineux et de son obsolescence.
Mots-clés :sculpture; art lumino-cinétique ; restauration, lumière, tube fluorescent ; Mazda; LED ; substitution
Keywords :sculpture; lumino-kinetic art; restoration, light, fluorescent bulb; Mazda; LED; substitution
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1ln the early 1960's, Lumino-kinetic artists have expanded the kinetic art, which was the art of movement, and started to use light as a medium to create artworks in a wide range of shapes, colors, and styles. As a result, we inherited a vast patrimony which wasn't supposed to be conserved at first, often made of poor materials, and we're facing problematic rarely encountered before such as the obsolescence of industrial components.
2The discontinuation of some lighting systems is an increasing source of problems, especially those based on fluorescence technology which evolved a lot in a short lapse of time. As time passes, old light bulbs, which were easily found, might not be anymore, thus we can't replace them as we used to. At start, it might be possible to find another bulb from a different brand with the same features, but those will eventually disappear too. This was the case we encountered during the restoration of two Mobiles Lumineux made by Nino Calos, from the museum of Modern art of Paris. They were producing a moving picture on a screen, combining light and movement. In one of them, made in 1966, were two original fluorescent tubes made by Mazda Lamps, the ancient French "Compagnie des Lampes" bought by Philips in 1983. Those bulbs stopped working, and so did the artwork. Unfortunately their short size, only 36 cm long for a diameter of 37 mm, can't be found anymore nowadays. The other mobile is still functioning, but show signs of fatigue and will soon present the same problematic
3Since we couldn't find a proper replacement anywhere, we had to make one. This is where starts the work of the restorer : first we had to understand how the light was used in the artwork, how its effects serve the purpose of the artist, our main concern. Then we went through the archives, in order to find the technical features of the light source, since those weren't clearly mentioned on the bulb at this time. For example, we only found the color temperature by comparing the spectral repartition of the old tube with the spectral repartition of CIE (International Commission on Illumination) references. We knew then that the old bulbs were producing a 4150 K light, a neutral white. Finally, we had to consider the conservation of the artwork, which will guide our choices during the research of a right substitute.
4With the data collected, a better comprehension of the artwork as a whole, and keeping the aspects of conservation in mind, we chose to make a light bulb using Light Emitting Diode (LED) technology. This type of light source provides many interesting features in respect of our needs : it's available in a wide range of luminance and color temperature, it's really small so it can fit nearly anywhere, and it's not harmful for the artwork since it doesn't produce UV. Moreover, it won't be disappearing anytime soon; instead, it will become more and more present as the market grows. Even though, we still had to resolve some technical difficulties such as the diffusion of light, our primary concern since the artist chose fluorescent bulbs as they emit a cold, diffuse light. Fortunately, by combining a translucent PMMA tube with latest LEDs products, we managed to reproduce the original bulbs with accuracy.
Fig.1 Mobile Lumineux 130, Nino Calos, 1966
Front view before the restoration (on the left) and an old picture from the archives (on the right) showing the working Mobile Lumineux 130, Nino Calos, 1966.
Crédits : O. Steib, 2014 (left) A. Di Bella, 1966 (right).
Fig.2 Mobile Lumineux 130, Nino Calos, 1966, after restoration.
Inside the mobile after the substitution of the lighting system (on the left) and front view of the working mobile, after its restoration (on the right).
Credits: O. Steib, 2014.
5The light substitutes were finally integrated into the artwork, reanimating the mobile, and achieving this unusual restoration. The next steps in this work will be the documentation using video and an exhaustive description of the removed technology. As for the other component such as the motor, the system was designed to work both in 127 and 230 V, so it doesn't have to be modified the day we change the motor or we decide to migrate from the 127 V to the actual 230 V.
6Special thanks to Dominique Gagneux, curator in the Museum of Modern Art of Paris, for entrusting me these artworks and giving me the opportunity to realize this study.
Table des illustrations
|Titre||Fig.1 Mobile Lumineux 130, Nino Calos, 1966|
|Légende||Front view before the restoration (on the left) and an old picture from the archives (on the right) showing the working Mobile Lumineux 130, Nino Calos, 1966.|
|Crédits||Crédits : O. Steib, 2014 (left) A. Di Bella, 1966 (right).|
|Titre||Fig.2 Mobile Lumineux 130, Nino Calos, 1966, after restoration.|
|Légende||Inside the mobile after the substitution of the lighting system (on the left) and front view of the working mobile, after its restoration (on the right).|
|Crédits||Credits: O. Steib, 2014.|
Pour citer cet article
Steib Olivier, « Restoring Lumino-Kinetic art », CeROArt [En ligne], | 2014, mis en ligne le 16 août 2014, consulté le 29 mars 2017. URL : http://ceroart.revues.org/4346Haut de page
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