Framing and Conservation of a Banksy

Case Study:
Framing and Conservation of a Banksy

An increasingly prevalent challenge in today's art world is the transitory purpose with which much contemporary artwork is produced; in terms of the materials used by the artist and how it is intended to last, long-term care is not always a primary consideration. At John Jones we are often asked to frame artworks that require specialist conservation treatment and processes in order to protect and stabilise its condition, and ensure its longevity and future enjoyment by the owner, dealer or gallery. 

John Jones was recently commissioned to frame a work of art by contemporary artist, Banksy: 'Drip Dinner' 2004, belonging to a private client. Typically for Banksy, the work incorporated a spray-painted stencil, and together with household paint, was executed onto a piece of corrugated cardboard. The work was relatively large scale at over 2metres sq. Before framing, John Jones’ Conservators carried out a condition report, and provided the client with treatment options and recommendations for its future care. 

First, the work needed to be removed from the warped MDF backing board it had been directly adhered to using a glue gun.

The artwork was released by undercutting into the MDF secondary support. The MDF residues were thinned using a scalpel and mechanically removed. Glue-gun adhesive residues were removed using a scalpel and crepe eraser. The artwork was successfully released with no damage to the integrity of the corrugated board support, and so enabling re-framing with a more stable backing.

A new secondary support was made using Dibond panels secured to a wooden subframe which provided the rigidity needed to safely support the work. This was wrapped with 100% cotton duck and the visible edges given a water-based hand-painted finish.

Museum-standard Japanese paper hinges were adhered to the back of the artwork, fed through slots in the Dibond panels, and secured to the back of the Dibond.  Pulling these tight enabled distortions in the artwork to be pulled tight.  The slots were then covered to prevent air or dust entering through the slots.  Slot mounting the work enabled safe handling of the artwork, reliable adhesion, and easy reversibility should the owner ever wish to remove the work from the frame.

The work was then beautifully framed in a simple, square profile oak frame, dark stained, and soft sanded for a clean, contemporary style, sympathetic for presentation of the Banksy artwork. The work was glazed in 6mm UV protected Perspex, to provide a stronger, less easily breakable glazing for the large-scale work, and to protect it from any damaging UV light.

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Framing and Conservation of a Banksy
Framing and Conservation of a Banksy
Framing and Conservation of a Banksy