Anna Belleforte

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longevity and archival quality of art

Posted by Anna Belleforte on July 8, 2019 at 1:15 PM

I’ve been developing a new series of paintings with a combination of media that I’ve been avoiding: fragmented printed matter along with paint. It creates a fantastic effect – hyperrealism with a painterly quality. I’ve felt hesitant doing this because I cannot guarantee the colour-fastness of the integrated magazine pictures over time. I simply don’t know how these image fragments, even with medium and varnish cover, will fare on constant exposure to daylight. But then for that matter, we also don’t know yet how acrylic will perform as it’s a relatively recent medium. Because I studied Art History and have such respect for the old masters, I’ve always felt the need to make art with pigments that had lasting quality, that would survive centuries. (Whether or not the work was good enough to make it through, well, who can ever be sure of that?!)

But I’ve come to realize that the work I make and which is bought by someone who loves it, is a record of our current times and may not even be as loved in 50 years. Certainly that has been the way of art history: art from the most recent past is rejected, abhorred, only to be appreciated much later again. So does it matter that what I make retains its colour brilliance in 100 years? Maybe not, is my conclusion. Yet I do continue to try, so I cover my work in UV-protection varnish. There may be hope for the future. I read recently about experiments being done at Wageningen University, learning from and replicating photonic materials such as that found in peacocks, beetles and butterflies – whose colours never fade, even in fossil form.

 

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