Paintings, sculptures and historical artefacts inevitably degrade with time. Factors such as the weather, sunlight and insects attack artwork with a spoiling effect that is noticeable, particularly over a long period of time. Not to be omitted from that list of threats is microbes.

We know microbes are ubiquitous, so it’s no surprise to consider works of art, regardless of their fame and value, are covered with bacteria, algae and fungi. These microbes are, for art lovers, most unwelcome guests because their presence can contribute to the degradation of the art. This can happen over many decades or in only a few days! It is also possible that artwork supporting the growth of microbes, particularly fungi, is a source of disease for people coming into contact with it.

The normal approach to preservation of valuable art is to store it under conditions that inhibit microbial activity such as reduced temperatures, altered gaseous environments and dehumidified surroundings- all of which cost money. However, some pieces of art simply cannot be preserved by these methods so the drastic measure of excluding people from its vicinity is necessary to avoid additional microbes being introduced by humans, ultimately impacting visitor experiences in galleries.

So, is it possible to inhibit the effects of microbial activity in another way? Can materials used in contemporary art be made antimicrobial? Could existing art work be retrospectively treated with agents that are antimicrobial in nature but do not damage the art or alter its appearance? Could antimicrobial technology and art be the perfect combination?

If you work for an organisation that focuses on the preservation and care of cultural heritage, including artworks, sculptures and other museum collections, or if you are looking to develop pieces of art that will withstand the test of time, contact BioCote® today to find out how our antimicrobial technology can be imbued into various materials such as paints, plastics and paper to make them permanently resistant to bacteria and mould.