Blackboards and the aesthetics of the ephemeral


LOS OJOS blackboard

My studio is in the San Lorenzo area of Rome and its acquisition was a major happening for me. From the very beginning I knew it needed a giant blackboard like the one I’d seen at Roscioli‘s wine bar. One of the Roscioli brothers told me where they gotten theirs and I promptly ordered one for myself. The blackboard was so heavy that it took an entire afternoon to mate it with the wall.

Los Ojos, my studio, is rather small and my blackboard is very large. So its presence is imposing and dictates the layout of the studio in general. When I decided to do my studio make-over, one of the big problems was moving the blackboard.

So why am I so fixated about having a blackboard? Could it be an imprinting leftover from my teaching days? Or did I become a teacher just to have access to a giant blackboard? What is it that I find so fascinating about blackboards?

Years ago, I use to prime large canvasses with black paint and used chalk to make the initial sketch. Like a blackboard. Making changes was so easy plus painting on black created instant chiarascuro.

The ephemeral nature of blackboard writings can lead to eternity. Because it gives you the freedom to erase and start all over again. Because making mistakes is often the only way to get it right.

Einstein at his chalkboard

Einstein at his blackboard via

Rudolf Steiner, where thoughts come from

Rudolf Steiner. Where the thoughts come from. Blackboard drawing to the lecture on the 9 August 1922

Joseph Beuys' blackboard

Joseph Beuys Blackboard Drawings

before studio change

Before blackboard moving

Related links: Blackboard Teaching and Learning from Art + Joseph Beuys’ blackboards, thinking for expulsion + The History of the Classroom Blackboard

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6 Responses to Blackboards and the aesthetics of the ephemeral

  1. jude says:

    i just draw on the wall

  2. coloremartine says:

    I too love blackboards though mine was easier to install. I simply painted the black paint on the wall.
    XXXm

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