What You Don't Know..., 2015
Commercial paint samples on untreated canvas, 1500x1500mm
Commentary: Lead based paints have been banned from North American and European markets since 1978 and the health hazards to consumers are well documented. As recently as 2013, high levels of lead were still commonly found in numerous enamel paints for sale in developing countries, many with so much lead in them they exceeded the U.S. standard by 300 times or more. Only a few brands listed any ingredients on the label, and none had any warning language to alert consumers of the danger. The paints were later found to come from subsidiaries of one of the world's largest paint manufacturers.*
Beginning in 2013, over 2000 commercially available paint samples were collected over a 2 year period from a western subsidiary of the paint manufacturer. The samples displayed the original names like "Peppermint Pink" and "Green Grove" - and were intended to imply a natural, and above all, safe product to consumers. The paint samples were then pinned to a traditional painter's canvas transforming it into a kind of "notice board" and arranged in a way to indicate danger - something the paint containers neglected to do.
*R. Kessler, Long Outlawed In The West, Lead Paint Sold In Poor Nations, (Yale Environment 360, Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, 2013)
© 2015 atelier Christophe Du Chemin