Metal – Surfaces

The Coloring and Coating of Metals

In the Sittertal, the coloring of fabrics is a frequently invoked production method, even after the era of the textile industry has passed. The textile coloring techniques have now been replaced by those for plaster, metal, plastic, and a wide range of other materials. Today it is draperies and surfaces of sculptures that are being patinated, stained, flocked, marbled, or etched in the factory buildings of the former industrial area. With these methods and many others, employees of the Kunstgiesserei St. Gallen art foundry handle works by artists who wish achieve a desired range of colors and effects. Often, countless sample pieces are created during the testing process, some of which find their way into the public collection of the Material Archive.

This year’s project Metal – Surfaces builds on this foundation of samples and practical experience, placing a focus on the chemical methods of coloring metals. The spectrum of chromaticity and metal surface structure is very broad, a fact that has become widely forgotten since the invention and frequent use of neutral stainless steel. With a representative selection of sample materials, the Material Archive offers an overview of the diversity and nuances of coloring metals. The related research and documentation, which will ultimately be accessible through the database of the Material Archive, and the extension of the material collection are undertaken in collaboration with the network partners from the University of the Arts Bern. In the scope of the project, two workshops and an exhibition are also in planning.


With the friendly support of:
Hans und Wilma Stutz Stiftung
Metrohm Stiftung
Sophie und Karl Binding Stiftung
Stiftung zur Förderung zur Denkmalpflege
Ortsgemeinde Straubenzell