Installing the Le Corbusier tapestry

At the end of last year the University Art Gallery received a large tapestry designed by renowned architect Le Corbusier in 1956, and produced by weavers in Aubusson, France. The tapestry was a generous gift from Louise and Andre Heyko-Porebski through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program.

The original tapestry was designed for the then new United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) building in Paris. In the mid-1960s Harry and Penelope Seidler commissioned an edition of the work to adorn the new Australia Square building located in Sydney’s CBD. The tapestry was removed from display and then sold at auction in 2003.

The tapestry is now installed in the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. This new home is a fitting choice as it is only a few blocks from Australia Square, and 2015 marks the institution’s 100th year.

The tapestry is large, measuring 3.5m x 6.8m. Such a large work creates a number of challenges for Collection Management staff.

The first task was to clean the tapestry using a brush and vacuum cleaner. The method used was to fold the tapestry like a concertina, exposing each fold in turn, and working down the length of the object.

The next challenge was to hang the tapestry. A split baton system was used, with one of the batons attached to the tapestry with a length of Velcro along the top edge. Sewing the length of Velcro to the top of the tapestry was a slow and methodical task.

To install the tapestry a scaffold was erected in front of the wall. Using a pulley system, Collection Management staff hoisted the tapestry into place and slotted it onto the matching baton attached to the wall.

Preparing the tapestry

Installing the tapestry