Polymeric Materials in Modern-Contemporary Art

A special issue of Polymers (ISSN 2073-4360). This special issue belongs to the section "Polymer Analysis and Characterization".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 August 2022) | Viewed by 28417

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Institute of Science and Technology in Art, Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, Vienna, Austria
Interests: heritage science; modern-contemporary art; ageing studies; analytical chemistry; polymer chemistry; organic material analyses; method development; data analyses; preservation of cultural heritage; indoor and outdoor museums
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
The Getty Conservation Institute, The J. Paul Getty Trust, Los Angeles, CA, USA
Interests: conservation of cultural heritage; plastics; Raman spectroscopy; polymers; modern art; contemporary art; material science; chemical characterization; conservation science; heritage science

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The study of polymeric materials in modern and contemporary art, such as binders, varnishes, adhesives, plastics, foams, optical fibres, etc., and their preservation is highly challenging. An ever-evolving array of polymers is adapted to artistic and industrial needs by manufacturers and individual artists, with consequent wide variation in formulations. As these materials age and degrade, their chemical stability, appearance, and mechanical properties can be compromised. This fact motivates research into preventive and interventive conservation techniques. Polymeric material characterization is key to these endeavors and often challenging. 

Evolving scientific characterization methods, whether in situ or on extracted micro-samples, and enhanced data analytical techniques contribute to modern and contemporary art study in exciting new ways. 

This Special Issue will highlight the latest scientific and technical research into investigations of polymeric materials widely found in modern and contemporary art from a broad perspective. Contributions are invited on, but not limited to, these subjects: 

  • Polymeric materials in modern and contemporary art;
  • Matrix and additive identification and their interaction;
  • New technologies and evaluation methods;
  • Ageing and degradation mechanisms and phenomena;
  • Influence of VOCs on polymeric materials;
  • Advances in conservation treatments;
  • Effectiveness of new cleaning methods;
  • Preservation.

Dr. Valentina Pintus
Dr. Odile Madden
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Polymers is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2700 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • modern art
  • contemporary art
  • polymeric materials
  • ageing and degradation
  • preservation
  • conservation
  • scientific methods
  • data analyses
  • museum collections
  • polymeric treatments

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

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46 pages, 11194 KiB  
Article
The Impact of Particulate Matters and Nanoparticles on Thermoplastic Polymer Coatings and Paint Layers
by Pierre-Antoine Héritier
Polymers 2022, 14(12), 2477; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14122477 - 17 Jun 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2104
Abstract
This article attempts to highlight a phenomenon that more or less permanently damages emulsion paint layers, the surfaces of which remain sufficiently permeable for dust particles to become permanently anchored there; when the particles are nanometric, this can cause a permanent change in [...] Read more.
This article attempts to highlight a phenomenon that more or less permanently damages emulsion paint layers, the surfaces of which remain sufficiently permeable for dust particles to become permanently anchored there; when the particles are nanometric, this can cause a permanent change in appearance. Based on scientific documents, empirical observations, laboratory analyses, case studies, and reconstructions of characteristic pictorial layers, this paper aims to highlight the medium- and long-term risks that alter these surfaces, in order to realize strategies for better prevention. The physico-chemical nature of these vulnerable materials will be discussed first, followed by the dust’s involvement; finally, the topic will be illustrated through concrete examples, with photos taken using digital, 4 K optical, and Scanning Electron Microscope equipment (SEM), in order to show how the problem of dust particle accumulation impacts even the most contemporary works of art. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymeric Materials in Modern-Contemporary Art)
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18 pages, 2603 KiB  
Article
How Can Ozone and Relative Humidity Affect Artists’ Alkyd Paints? A FT-IR and Py-GC/MS Systematic Study
by Laura Pagnin, Elisabetta Zendri and Francesca Caterina Izzo
Polymers 2022, 14(9), 1831; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14091831 - 29 Apr 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2421
Abstract
Knowledge of the chemical–physical reactions that determine the main degradation behaviour of artists’ alkyd paints represents one of the main problems within the museum exhibitions. The collection and interpretation of these data on degradation phenomena, especially after ozone exposure at different relative humidity [...] Read more.
Knowledge of the chemical–physical reactions that determine the main degradation behaviour of artists’ alkyd paints represents one of the main problems within the museum exhibitions. The collection and interpretation of these data on degradation phenomena, especially after ozone exposure at different relative humidity values, can be useful for their conservation needs. Therefore, a systematic investigation of these materials may help achieve this goal. Firstly, surface-level identification of the main functional groups of ad hoc created and aged alkyd paints was performed using attenuated total reflection Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR). Subsequently, these paints were investigated by pyrolysis–gas chromatography and mass spectrometry (Py–GC/MS), allowing for precise bulk identification of the organic compounds before and after accelerated ageing. A first successful attempt to provide quantitative Py–GC/MS data on alkyd-based paints is here presented and discussed. Comparing the results, it was possible to obtain new insights into the degradation behaviour of alkyd paints when exposed to ozone, allowing us to devise specific preventive and conservation strategies for these artistic materials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymeric Materials in Modern-Contemporary Art)
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23 pages, 6482 KiB  
Article
Data Fusion Approach to Simultaneously Evaluate the Degradation Process Caused by Ozone and Humidity on Modern Paint Materials
by Laura Pagnin, Rosalba Calvini, Katja Sterflinger and Francesca Caterina Izzo
Polymers 2022, 14(9), 1787; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14091787 - 27 Apr 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2050
Abstract
The knowledge of the atmospheric degradation reactions affecting the stability of modern materials is still of current interest. In fact, environmental parameters, such as relative humidity (RH), temperature, and pollutant agents, often fluctuate due to natural or anthropogenic climatic changes. This study focuses [...] Read more.
The knowledge of the atmospheric degradation reactions affecting the stability of modern materials is still of current interest. In fact, environmental parameters, such as relative humidity (RH), temperature, and pollutant agents, often fluctuate due to natural or anthropogenic climatic changes. This study focuses on evaluating analytical and statistical strategies to investigate the degradation processes of acrylic and styrene-acrylic paints after exposure to ozone (O3) and RH. A first comparison of FTIR and Py-GC/MS results allowed to obtain qualitative information on the degradation products and the influence of the pigments on the paints’ stability. The combination of these results represents a significant potential for the use of data fusion methods. Specifically, the datasets obtained by FTIR and Py-GC/MS were combined using a low-level data fusion approach and subsequently processed by principal component analysis (PCA). It allowed to evaluate the different chemical impact of the variables for the characterization of unaged and aged samples, understanding which paint is more prone to ozone degradation, and which aging variables most compromise their stability. The advantage of this method consists in simultaneously evaluating all the FTIR and Py-GC/MS variables and describing common degradation patterns. From these combined results, specific information was obtained for further suitable conservation practices for modern and contemporary painted films. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymeric Materials in Modern-Contemporary Art)
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24 pages, 59957 KiB  
Article
Multi-Analytical Investigations of Andy Warhol’s “Orange Car Crash”: Polymeric Materials in Modern Paints
by Valentina Pintus, Anthony J. Baragona, Federica Cappa, Christa Haiml, Christina Hierl, Katja Sterflinger and Manfred Schreiner
Polymers 2022, 14(3), 633; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14030633 - 7 Feb 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 3197
Abstract
This work presents strategic multi-analytical investigations performed on “Orange Car Crash” by Andy Warhol in order to make a well-informed conservation decision. For determining the type of binding medium used in the artwork, Pyrolysis–Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry (Py–GC/MS) and Thermally Assisted Hydrolysis [...] Read more.
This work presents strategic multi-analytical investigations performed on “Orange Car Crash” by Andy Warhol in order to make a well-informed conservation decision. For determining the type of binding medium used in the artwork, Pyrolysis–Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry (Py–GC/MS) and Thermally Assisted Hydrolysis and Methylation of GC/MS (THM–GC/MS) were employed. The presence of a coating was investigated by Py–GC/MS. Moreover, the comprehension and elucidation of the paint stratigraphy were studied by examining cross-sections of samples taken from both canvases with Optical Microscopy (OM) under reflected visible (Vis) and ultraviolet light (UV) and by Scanning Electron Microscopy with Energy Dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (SEM–EDX). The investigation of possible synthetic organic pigments (SOPs) and extenders was performed by µ-Raman spectroscopy, while micro-Attenuated Total Reflection of Fourier-Transform Attenuated Total Reflection (µ-ATR–FTIR) allowed us to assign each component detected by Py–GC/MS or THM–GC/MS to a specific layer. The data collected from “Orange Car Crash” show mostly the application of acrylic-based paint as well as alkyd with rosin acids-based ink, thus providing fundamental information about the paint stratigraphy and chemical composition of each layer. In addition to the goal of informing an appropriate conservation–restoration strategy, this work represents a rare scientific study of a work by Andy Warhol. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymeric Materials in Modern-Contemporary Art)
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12 pages, 1768 KiB  
Communication
Research on the Application of Polymer Materials in Contemporary Ceramic Art Creation
by Xiaobing Hu, Yuanqian Lai, Yingshuang Hu, Yingzhuo Li, Dan Zhao and Fang Tong
Polymers 2022, 14(3), 552; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14030552 - 29 Jan 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 3300
Abstract
Ceramicized polymer composites are prepared by adding various additives into the polymer matrix, such as functional clay fillers, porcelain-forming additives, crosslinking agents, flame retardants, reinforcement agents, etc. In recent years, polymer materials have been widely used in the preparation of ceramic materials. Moreover, [...] Read more.
Ceramicized polymer composites are prepared by adding various additives into the polymer matrix, such as functional clay fillers, porcelain-forming additives, crosslinking agents, flame retardants, reinforcement agents, etc. In recent years, polymer materials have been widely used in the preparation of ceramic materials. Moreover, the addition of polymer materials in ceramic materials results in increased bending in the ceramic body, and its mechanical strength has been greatly improved; this advantage has led many contemporary ceramists to use polymer materials in the creation of ceramic works, providing ceramic creation more space for operation. The introduction of polymer materials into ceramic materials brings more possibilities than traditional ceramic creation based on the tests of toughness, strength, and yield of the ceramic body. This article investigates ceramic raw materials with high-polymer material ceramic function, high-polymer materials for modern pottery to convey the artistic expression of porcelain texture, as well as the use of high-polymer materials in gel-powered three-dimensional (3D) printing to refine the injection molding process, all of which solve the difficulties of creating delicate artworks in modern ceramic art creation. This paper mainly adopts the research method of recording and comparing the numerical value of adding ceramic materials into polymer materials and the physical shape after firing in ceramic creation, to form a relatively stable numerical value and firing curve for a certain type of ceramic creation form. In this regard, the integration of modern ceramic creation and polymer materials makes ceramic works a relatively special style in contemporary art, increasing its cultural connotation and visual tension. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymeric Materials in Modern-Contemporary Art)
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13 pages, 3458 KiB  
Article
An Essential Role of Polymeric Adhesives in the Reinforcement of Acidified Paper Relics
by Jiaojiao Liu, Huiping Xing, Yajun Zhou, Xiaolian Chao, Yuhu Li and Daodao Hu
Polymers 2022, 14(1), 207; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14010207 - 5 Jan 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2274
Abstract
Paper acidification causes paper relics to undergo embrittlement and decay, to form dregs, and even to break upon a single touch; therefore, reinforcement and deacidification treatments are essential steps for paper conservation and to retard the deterioration and prolong the life of objects. [...] Read more.
Paper acidification causes paper relics to undergo embrittlement and decay, to form dregs, and even to break upon a single touch; therefore, reinforcement and deacidification treatments are essential steps for paper conservation and to retard the deterioration and prolong the life of objects. Polymeric adhesives play an essential role in reinforcement and deacidification treatments, although it is not well studied. In this work, the effect of polymeric adhesives on the conservation process and their protective effects on acidified paper relics were studied. Firstly, three polymeric adhesives, including wheat starch paste, polyvinyl butyral (PVB), and polyvinyl alcohol (PVA), were selected as research objects. Subsequently, their effects on four popular conservation methods were further discussed, including traditional mounting, hot-melt with silk net, alcohol-soluble cotton mesh, and water-soluble cotton mesh. Additionally, as an example, the reversibility and long-term durability of water-soluble adhesive PVA-217 were assessed. Using a computer measured and controlled folding endurance tester, pendulum tensile strength tester, tear tester, burst tester, FT-IR, video optical contact angle tester, and other instruments, the conservation application of water-soluble adhesives in paper relics was evaluated. This study provides a scientific basis and experimental data for the application of polymeric adhesives in the conservation of paper relics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymeric Materials in Modern-Contemporary Art)
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7 pages, 2669 KiB  
Article
Protection of Urban Art Painting: A Laboratory Study
by Andrea Macchia, Sara Capriotti, Laura Rivaroli, Silvestro Antonio Ruffolo and Mauro Francesco La Russa
Polymers 2022, 14(1), 162; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14010162 - 31 Dec 2021
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2010
Abstract
Urban art is a form of artistic visual expression and communication that is created in the street and generally in the public dimension of urban spaces. Often these kinds of artworks are in outdoor environments, and they usually suffer from atmospheric weathering and [...] Read more.
Urban art is a form of artistic visual expression and communication that is created in the street and generally in the public dimension of urban spaces. Often these kinds of artworks are in outdoor environments, and they usually suffer from atmospheric weathering and anthropic vandalism. Recently, several strategies have been used to limit or remove the effects of such vandalism. Currently, the use of quartz paints is growing among artists; such paints after setting are more porous and rough on the surface with respect to regular paints. The aim of the study is to assess the performance of anti-graffiti coatings on quartz artworks paints. Two anti-graffiti products were chosen, and their behaviors were assessed in the laboratory by means of contact angle measurement, water capillary test, colorimetric analysis, and optical and electron microscopy. Results showed good water repellence efficacy of the tested products, demonstrating that they are suitable for the protection of urban art, but at least two applications on the surface are needed to achieve good performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymeric Materials in Modern-Contemporary Art)
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19 pages, 2773 KiB  
Article
A Multi-Analytical Approach for Studying the Effect of New LED Lighting Systems on Modern Paints: Chemical Stability Investigations
by Valentina Pintus, Ferenc Szabó, Dávid Noel Tóth, Karin Wieland, Péter Csuti, Marta Anghelone, Ottavia Santorelli, Carlotta Salvadori, Christoph Haisch, Katja Sterflinger and Manfred Schreiner
Polymers 2021, 13(24), 4441; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13244441 - 17 Dec 2021
Viewed by 2496
Abstract
This study aims to investigate the chemical stability of some modern paint samples exposed to a new Light Emitting Diode (LED)-lighting system and a halogen lamp by using micro-attenuated total reflectance of Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (µ-ATR-FTIR), µ-Raman, pyrolysis—gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (Py-GC/MS), and [...] Read more.
This study aims to investigate the chemical stability of some modern paint samples exposed to a new Light Emitting Diode (LED)-lighting system and a halogen lamp by using micro-attenuated total reflectance of Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (µ-ATR-FTIR), µ-Raman, pyrolysis—gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (Py-GC/MS), and thermally assisted hydrolysis and methylation of GC/MS (THM-GC/MS). Those investigations were performed before and after the exposure of the samples to lightings for 1250, 2400, 3300, and 5000 h. The results obtained with µ-Raman spectroscopy show the high stability of the selected inorganic pigments after the exposure to the lighting systems; while similar to the UV/Vis/NIR results reported in a previous study, µ-ATR-FTIR and THM-GC/MS results evidence greater chemical changes occurring principally on the linseed oil binder-based mock-ups among the acrylic and alkyd-based samples. Moreover, principal component analyses (PCA) and hierarchical cluster analyses (HCA) of THM-GC/MS results highlight that those changes were mostly dependent on the exposure time and on the type of pigment, while being independent of the lighting system used. Finally, semi-quantitative µ-ATR-FTIR results show slight pigment enrichment at the paint surface due to the auto and photo-oxidative degradation of the linseed oil binder. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymeric Materials in Modern-Contemporary Art)
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10 pages, 4834 KiB  
Article
An Essential Role of Gelatin in the Formation Process of Curling in Long Historical Photos
by Jiaojiao Liu, Yuhu Li, Daodao Hu, Xiaolian Chao, Yajun Zhou and Juanli Wang
Polymers 2021, 13(22), 3894; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13223894 - 11 Nov 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1824
Abstract
Curling disease in long historical photos significantly affects the presentation of cultural heritage information. However, people lack attention to the formation process and microstructural changes of photo curling. In this article, a long historical photo (1912–1949 AD) collected by the Second Historical Archives [...] Read more.
Curling disease in long historical photos significantly affects the presentation of cultural heritage information. However, people lack attention to the formation process and microstructural changes of photo curling. In this article, a long historical photo (1912–1949 AD) collected by the Second Historical Archives of China was taken as the research object, and the formation process and cause of the curling were further explored. Firstly, Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), X-ray diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscope (SEM), X-ray energy disperse spectrometer (EDS), and other instruments were used to analyze the material composition of the long historical photo. It was found that the photographic paper was made of gelatin, barium sulfate, and plant fiber layers. Then, the effects of hygrothermal environments on curling and contraction in the gelatin layer and simulated photographic paper were explored. Meanwhile, the formation process and main influence factors of the curling were preliminarily revealed. The morphological analysis by SEM was carried out to identify the inner correlation between the microstructure and curling of photos. Finally, the possible formation cause of photo curling was analyzed. This study provides a scientific basis and experimental data for the preservation and restoration of long historical photos based on gelatin. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymeric Materials in Modern-Contemporary Art)
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Review

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15 pages, 1784 KiB  
Review
Research on the Application of Synthetic Polymer Materials in Contemporary Public Art
by Yajun Zhang, Xuelian Yu and Zhichao Cheng
Polymers 2022, 14(6), 1208; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14061208 - 17 Mar 2022
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 4654
Abstract
Synthetic polymer materials are widely used in contemporary public art creation. This review summarizes the application methods and current situation of synthetic polymer materials in public art, analyzes the reasons behind them and points out the deficiencies in this research field. Finally, the [...] Read more.
Synthetic polymer materials are widely used in contemporary public art creation. This review summarizes the application methods and current situation of synthetic polymer materials in public art, analyzes the reasons behind them and points out the deficiencies in this research field. Finally, the development trend of the interaction between synthetic polymer materials and public art is put forward. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymeric Materials in Modern-Contemporary Art)
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