Conservation verses restoration – Always a difficult choice, but in this sculpture’s case there was only one way to go. Yes, it was entirely intact with no real damages and a new coat of paint would have made it look fresh as day one. However, it had a continuous, barely visible, hairline crack that ran the entire perimeter of the peel and kept reoccurring no matter what it was coated over it. After doing some forensic exploring in the underlying laminate, we discovered a design problem that no amount of putty could fill. The outer layers of carbon fiber and regular fiberglass were discontinuous right at a hard corner! Where the carbon ended, the E-glass began. Any change in ambient temperature would cause the crack to reappear. After cajoling the lead conservator of the project, it was decided a full overlay wrap of continuous fiber just millimeters thick would stop the issue permanently. Reapplication of texture and paint was the easy part!
Conserve? Restore? What to do?