Yesterday Dorothea wrote about wallpaper as social commentary in art, and specifically about Gerhard Richter’s installation, Volker Bradke, which will be on view starting January 25 in the upcoming Art of Two Germanys/Cold War Cultures show. I talked with Bill Stahl, LACMA’s manager of gallery services, about recreating the wallpaper that was in the original installation in 1966.
Were you able to use the same roller from 1966 to make the wallpaper?
Yes, the gallery loaned that to us. We used the existing roller and just remade a handle, as the original was not in good enough condition to use. It’s actually a two-part roller; the first roller has the floral pattern on it and the second roller (which ultimately was a soft rubber brayer roller covered with thin felt) is installed on the handle so that fresh ink from the felt is constantly supplied to the pattern roller.
Tell me about the ink you used.
I researched some water-based ink used in printing that washes off completely. Paint would have been too thick for the pattern and may have damaged the original roller. Stephanie Barron, the curator of the exhibition, selected the color.
The ink saturation and pattern seem a bit irregular. That’s intentional, I suppose?
Yes, Stephanie kept reminding us that the printing is not supposed to look perfect.
What are the plans for the roller now that you’re all finished?
We’ll send it on to the other venues of the exhibition and then the original parts and the new handle that will be given to the owner.
Watch Bill at work here: