Nanorestart gels and their uses for surface cleaning at TATE

Bronwyn Ormsby, with Angelica Bartoletti, Piero Baglioni, David Chelazzi, Lora Angelova, Rachel Barker, Gates Sofer and Tamar Maor 
Tate, London, UK and CSGI, Florence, Italy

This presentation outlines the approach, methodology, key results and challenges encountered during Tate’s contribution to the Nanorestart project ( and (; which offered a unique opportunity to explore cleaning science pertaining to modern and contemporary art; with an emphasis on soiling removal from painted surfaces and plastics. Amongst other aspects, the project involved rigorously evaluating the Nanorestore Gel® Peggy series newly developed by CSGI, alongside other systems; and the completion of three case study conservation treatments on two painted works: Roy Lichtenstein’s Whaam! (1963, T00897) and Eva Hesse’s Addendum (1967, T02394), and one PMMA-based work; Michael Dillon’s Op Structure, (1967, T03717). The research was collaborative, practice-based, and followed a methodological approach, involving conservators and conservation scientists at Tate, and the team at CSGI. Prior to carrying out conservation treatment; key stages involved the characterisation of artwork surfaces, the preparation of test samples, extensive comparative evaluation studies, and cleaning material residue studies. Although – after this extensive process – CSGI materials were only chosen for 2 of the 3 case studies; this research facilitated useful comparative cleaning studies across a range of materials, and the successful conservation treatment of two hitherto challenging modern and contemporary works in Tate’s collection.