© giovanni casu, 2016
Iron Dust and Magnets. Dimension: variable size.
I was intrigued by the idea of bringing a metaphysical entity into the world. Of course, it is an impossible task and an inappropriate one from a philosophical perspective. And yet, in pursuing an impossible target, many unexpected things can be found on the way. And the chances of finding something interesting are particularly high. In searching for a colour which which would match this concept in the most intuitive way, I found in the Middle Grey Card* the most appropriate shade. It is less heavy and symbolic than pure black and less boring than (holy) gold or white. With a bit of patience, it was not too difficult to obtain this kind of grey with acrylics, still I had the impression that I could get closer to my goal if only I obtained an extremely mat surface. In the meantime I used the Middle Grey shade for the Greys-painting, and it was quite satisfying considering my “impossible target”. While looking for pigments I found a grey powder on Ebay, basically pure iron, which surprisingly and completely corresponded to Middle Grey. I could not underestimate such alchemical coincidence, so I started to work on it. How could I get a super mat surface? …Mainly by avoiding any acrylic base or any sticky material that would easily become glossy or reduce the mat aspect of the pure pigment. I thought I could solve the problem with a magnetic sticker (like the ones you stick to your fridge). In practice, however, the magnetic sticker was not strong enough to attract the powder and create a really mat surface, and the texture thus obtained made quite a poor impression. I thus explored the potential of combining iron powder and magnet. I realized later that this kind of grey is the colour used for 3D modelling and digital images that try to represent, build or describe pure form.
*A gray card is a middle gray reference, typically used together with a reflective light meter, as a way to produce consistent image exposure and/or color in film and photography. A gray card is a flat object of a neutral gray color that derives from a flat reflectance spectrum. A typical example is the Kodak R-27 set, which contains two 8x10" cards and one 4x5" card which have 18% reflectance across the visible spectrum, and a white reverse side which has 90% reflectance. Note that flat spectral reflectance is a stronger condition than simply appearing neutral; this flatness ensures that the card appears neutral under any illuminant (see metamerism).