Client David Medalla
Year 2022

‘Cloud Gates’ restoration for David Medalla

Described as an ‘auto-creative sculpture,’ The Cloud Gates, a series of seminal works by the late artist David Medalla are perpetually forming and reforming, as soap bubbles emerge and move through and out of its acrylic casing. Playfully animating a starkly minimalist base and frame, the piece is derived from a number of real-world inspirations and associations that fascinated the artist.

The team at CALIPER were tasked with the restoration of The Cloud Gates in collaboration with Factum Arte. Much of the work carried out consisted of performing test runs of the pieces, many of which had not been serviced in over 10 years.

Starting with the restoration process, CALIPER re-painted the base structures of the pieces to bring them back to their original state. Internally, they replaced all of the air diffusers within the base of the sculpture which had eroded and included new acrylic tubing to ensure a consistent air delivery to allow the bubbles to form. The faulty water pumps hidden within the base of the sculpture were also replaced and re-connected. A custom external water butt was added to make for a consistent dilution ratio of the water and bubble mixture and ultimately a final test and clean of the sculpture was carried out before packaging the pieces to be returned to the artists’ estate. Construction plans for future editions of the piece to be manufactured were supplied along with the final product.