Gertrud Louise Goldschmidt
Gertrud Goldschmidt, professionally known as Gego, came to the fine arts later in life. After studying architecture in her native Germany, she was forced by the rise of National Socialism to immigrate to Venezuela because of her Jewish heritage. There Gego completed her first works of art, a series of delicate drawings and prints. In the midst of a Venezuelan art scene where artists such as Jesús Rafael Soto were experimenting with the creation of optical illusions in three-dimensional space, Gego soon turned her attention to sculpture.
Vibración en negro (1957), one of Gego’s first sculptures, was created after a trip to Europe during 1955 and 1956. During her travels she visited a number of galleries and museums in West Germany, Switzerland, and Britain. It seems she was particularly fascinated by Max Bill’s Endless Ribbon (1935), a sculptural interpretation of the Möbius strip, a twisted band that has only one side and thus possesses the mathematical property of being non-orientable. After her return to Caracas, Gego coupled her interest in Bill’s work with the kinetic experiments of her Venezuelan peers to create Vibración en negro, a hanging sculpture constructed from continuous strips of painted aluminium. Suspended delicately from the ceiling, the work begins to rotate when the movements of the viewer induce air currents. As they rotate, the network of lines shifts continuously, creating a shimmering effect or, as the title suggests, a visual vibration.