Even though soot has been used for thousands of years, it is relatively unexplored as a medium in contemporary art. Only a handful of artists internationally have created works from soot. The South African artist Diane Victor is one such artist who has explored the medium, using candles to create magnificent artworks on paper, and more recently on stone and glass. The main focus of this mini-dissertation is a detailed artist interview that records Diane Victor’s technique, material use and preferences regarding transport, installation and exhibition of her soot drawings. More importantly, the artist’s interview explores the artist's intent regarding the stability and longevity of her soot drawings, as Diane Victor does not use fixatives on her soot drawings. This preference imparts a certain fragility to the artworks placing them at risk of smudging, lifting of pigment and abrasion, in addition to tears, staining and distortion of the paper through improper handling, poor exhibition techniques or accidental events. Although Diane Victor has returned to and reworked drawings she has made in the past to repair damage to the image, she would instead leave damage to the paper substrate to the expertise of conservators, and there is as such a need to better understand her preferences in addition to the material itself. The artist interview attends to the former, whilst a detailed visual documentation of soot drawings samples attends to the latter. Using various lighting techniques and microscopy, the dissertation hopes to highlight the relationship between the paper fibres and the soot; to establish a baseline for future research into how these fragile artworks could be stabilised and conserved.
Mini Dissertation (MSocSci (Tangible Heritage Conservation))-- University of Pretoria, 2021.