Name Amon First

Diasec® mounting

Diasec® is a commercial mounting process with a characteristic appearance. It was patented in 1972, and ever since its use has required a license agreement. It involves bonding the image side of a photograph to a translucent surface. In addition, the back of the image can be protected by dry mounting it on another surface, as described above.

The Diasec® patent covers the bonding process, which uses a silicone-based primer. The translucent panel usually employed is PMMA, which is inexpensive and easy to handle, has excellent optical characteristics and can incorporate a UV inhibitor and anti-reflective treatment. It is also relatively light and very impact resistant.

The PMMA becomes the surface of the artwork because the bonding process is irreversible. Except for rare adhesion problems (localized detachment) conservation issues are usually mechanical, especially due to the fact that PMMA is not very scratch resistant.

Bonding the image side of the photograph has an aesthetic impact on the work, increasing its contrast and its color saturation like a varnish would. The effect is emphasized by the shine of the surface of the PMMA (although a matt material can also be used).

Photographs mounted with this process are common in collections of contemporary photography.

1 A traditional frame is made from molding that is recessed on the back and covers the edge of the work. It includes a sheet of protective glass. A floater frame (or “caisse américaine” in French) uses molding that isn’t recessed and there is no overlap with the artwork. A space a few millimeters wide separates the frame and the edge of the work, which is mounted on a flat, rigid support underneath.

2The term “face-mounting” is used to describe photographs mounted using the proprietary Diasec® process as well as others using a similar unlicensed technique.

3The primer is an adhesive preparation applied between the photograph and the PMMA. It is perfectly transparent.

Images from the top:

Stéphane Couturier (b. 1957)
« Jardin des Tuileries - Paris 1 – 1998 »
Dye destruction color print (Cibachrome/Ilfochrome), Diasec face-mounted and laid on aluminum
160 x 125 cm
Fonds Municipal d’Art Contemporain de la Ville de Paris (FMAC), Paris
© Stéphane Couturier / FMAC / Roger-Viollet

Cross-section of a photograph mounted using the Diasec® process

Schéma Diasec © ARCP/Mairie de Paris, 2017

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