Painting in an Industrial Age

concrete artists lived and worked
in a country that was rapidly industrializing
after World War II. They wanted their works
to actively engage with this changing society. PIA GOTTSCHALLER: To do so,
they used the entire range of industrial paints
that had been developed in the 20th century. These paints were self-leveling,
fast drying, and inexpensive, and they opened up a whole
new world of possibilities. ZANNA GILBERT: The
artists of Grupo Ruptura in São Paulo were interested in
making artworks that eliminated any visible trace of
the artist’s hand, all while being
carefully handmade. PIA GOTTSCHALLER: The
artist, Judith Lauand, experimented with
numerous approaches. ZANNA GILBERT: In
Concrete 37
, she used a paint roller that left
an even, yet mottled, surface. PIA GOTTSCHALLER:
And inConcrete 61, she sprayed on the
paint layers, producing a very smooth surface, that
is free of any manual traces. ZANNA GILBERT:
Geraldo de Barros was so intent on creating
a perfect finish that he went to even
greater lengths. PIA GOTTSCHALLER: In
Diagonal Function
, he sprayed, and brushed,
and polished his painting, and he used a custom
made paint mixture. We employed scientific
research techniques to discover exactly what kind
of paint mixture he had used. The findings were so unusual
that we contacted his daughter to find out more. She told me that her
father, for a while, shared a house
with a Ruptura artist, who had trained as a
chemist, called Kazmer Féjer. Féjer loved to experiment
with completely new types of paint mixtures. He ended up coming up with a
polyurethane modified alkyd, which obviously allowed him
to create this absolutely perfect surface finish. ZANNA GILBERT: Each
Concrete artist experimented with materials
in a different way, producing a wide range
of visual effects. PIA GOTTSCHALLER:
Hermelindo Fiaminghi was interested in the
Gestalt theory of perception. This interest led him
to develop compositions that disrupt the relationship
between figure and ground. When we look at this work
in extreme, raking lights, we can see how he
achieved this effect by juxtaposing very matte
and very glossy house paint. ZANNA GILBERT: In the singular
experimentation with materials and techniques, the
artists from Grupo Ruptura expanded the language of
international geometric abstraction. [MUSIC PLAYING]

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