Plastic Identification Tool
No title (Interior), Tom Claassen, 1991
Collection Kröller-Müller Museum
Hanging sculpture, 2-part, each 375 x 120 x 90 cm (h x w x d)

Natural rubber and steel

The artwork consists of two parts. Two large rectangular shapes are latex casts of toilet cabins held up by a steel frame. The artist Tom Claassen hung them from hooks to remind us of clothing bags.

Tom Claassen (Heerlen, 1964) has particularly interested in a specific part of the sculptural process: the aspect of positive and negative, mould and cast.
Due to its flexibility and ease of processing old-fashioned natural rubber (latex) lends itself well for his search for inversions; bringing the inside out and the outside in, with an emphasis on the seams. The work ‘no title (interior)’ consists of two ‘thin rubber-offs’, as Claassen calls them, of two toilet cabins in the old school in Breda where his studio used to be. On the outside the points between the tiles are visible as are the recesses for the toilet roll holder and other elements that were fixed to the wall such as pipes and a radiator. On the side where the door is, a slit in the middle, along the entire height, provides a view of the interior with a flabby, collapsed toilet bowl.

Given the limited life expectancy of natural rubber, being assessed almost 30 years after the work was made, the condition is still fair. However, sections of the latex rubber have darkened severely and have become hard, especially on top where the rubber rests on the steel frame. This prohibits exhibition at the moment.
The rubber layer is thin and not reinforced with textile. The work requires a restoration treatment to give the brittle parts additional support. In the case that more sections of rubber were to become brittle and crumbly upon ageing, the entire work would be lost.

Exhibition and Storage
The best storage conditions would be dark, cool and in a low oxygen atmosphere. The artwork is kept in a wooden crate covered with Tyvek, loosely folded with interleaving to avoid layers sticking together and formation of rigid folds. The entire work is placed in a bespoke airtight, low oxygen packaging.
For exhibition it is recommended to avoid direct contact between the metal inner frame and the latex, for example by placing Tyvek or Melinex in between. Given the high sensitivity of latex to (photo)oxidation it is best to limit light exposure (lux-hours) by reducing light intensity and exhibition duration. A consideration would be to keep visitors at some distance from the artwork.

Natural rubber (NR)

Click on the plastic for specific recommendations.