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Behind the Scenes in Conservation: Gigi Scaria Panorama

by Conservation


behind the scenes , conservation , Gigi Scaria

When we think of photographs, we usually picture a piece of paper, often of a size that can be mounted in an album or framed and hung on the wall of our home.  There are exceptions, such as tintypes or Daguerreotypes that are kept behind glass in folding cases to protect them from scratches and corrosion.   A recent addition to the collection doesn’t match either of these conceptions of a photograph.  It is All About This Side by the Indian artist Gigi Scaria.  Printed in 2017, it is made up of five inkjet prints on paper that, when displayed, measures one foot high by 15 feet long.  The prints are intended to be shown without frames. 

To make this possible, the artist had them mounted to aluminum panels that include a hanging structure.  The surfaces of all photographs can be damaged if not protected, but in the case of inkjet prints, the ink on the surface is especially vulnerable to abrasion.  The delicate surface combined with the bulky aluminum mounts required our paper conservator, registrars and preparators to devise a storage system to address the specific needs of this object.  Custom boxes made of acid-free cardboard will shield the surface from dust and abrasion and will be strong enough to support the aluminum mounts.  The interior of each box will be modified to provide a safe way to remove the print without having to touch the front, minimizing the risk of abrading the image.