part 1: The most beautiful and blackest pigment, comes from …
part 2 : Coal preparation plant Beringen
part 3 : Artist Residency in old mine building
I talk a lot about paint over here, which I’m making from pigment-ground coal. But what I didn’t told you yet, is with which coal I’m doing all these tests. Not all coal is the same you know. Far from.
From Semple’s Black over coal from Zolder to weird tests with purchased coal.
My collaboration with Semple’s search for the blackest paint possible for everyone (except Anish Kapoor), was the beginning of my “coalpaint story”. I started experimenting with coal from Zolder. That paint was dark brown. Then I tried anthracite. The result was a neutral black paint. Mixed with Semple’s Black 2.0, it was the blackest existing paint. Until here you were up-to-date.
But I wanted to make the paint more black. The more light something absorbens, the darker it seems. A matt surface absorbens light. But the antracite I used, shines. A shining pigment reflects the light in stead of absorbing it. I should be able to fix that…
Fix it, like in: trying to make the coal mat. For this I did the most idiotic tests: Mixing coal with White Spirit, with turpentine, with Ammonia, with … all unhealthy stinking products, which deprived the coal of its luster. I transformed the matted coal into paint, hoping to get the black paint even blacker. And that worked. The difference between the paint results was by far not as big as the difference between dry pigment, but it was there. A lot of hassle. And really not healthy. Good for a test strip, not for producing.
But because of the color difference between Zolder’s coal and that of the purchased coal …
I became very curious about what color the coal of Beringen would give. Below the washing plant, I could see piles of coal, which I would really like to have. But the site was closed with fences, and there was a warning sign that there’s camera surveillance. Damn.
If there is something that I learned in 2017
then it is, that if I really want something, I just have to dare to ask. The answer is surprisingly often yes, and I am incredibly happy about that.
The rest you can read tomorrow :-), in part 2.