The German-born Venezuelan artist, Gego (Gertrud Goldschmidt, 1912–1994) honed her ideas about design during her training as an architect-engineer at a technical school in Stuttgart. But she did not apply this discipline in her professional life until 1940 when she opened a handicraft studio where she designed furniture and lamps, which was a couple of years after she arrived in Venezuela. Her interest in design increased as a result of her relationship with the well-known Lithuanian-born Venezuelan graphic designer, Gerd Leufert, who also had extensive experience as a teacher at the Instituto de Diseño [Design Institute] in Caracas (officially known as the Instituto de Diseño Fundación Neumann). This was the first Venezuelan school devoted entirely to instruction in the field of design. Gego taught a technical seminar there, called “Relaciones Espaciales” [Spatial Relationships], designed to teach students how volumes behave in space.
Gego’s conversations with the essayist and literary critic, María Fernanda Palacios (b. 1945), who was also a teacher at the Instituto de Diseño in Caracas, include two themes that are central to their respective disciplines. The first of these concerns was the didactic process, and the second concerns art. With regard to the former (the teaching-learning dynamic), Gego insists that the student is the key factor in the process. She is perhaps biased by her own experience, since she considered herself to be self-taught in terms of the individual path that led her to design and art. As regards the second theme (the differences and similarities between art, design, and handicrafts), Gego reveals her contemporary ideas about such things by suggesting that the borders between these disciplines have become blurred. Once again, Gego speaks from her own experience, since she understands that all these disciplines have influenced her work, and acknowledges that she has worked with each of them separately. It thus becomes clear that her career as an artist is rooted in her training and her exposure to all the disciplines in which she has ever worked.
Furthermore with regard to both of these themes, Gego stresses her desire to “make visible”—a concept originally proposed by Paul Klee—which she sees as the primary goal of her work. This, to some extent, supports claims that Gego’s work was influenced by Klee more than by anyone else. However, it also suggests a contemporary approach to the product of her artistic work, especially in terms of her rejection of the concept of the “work of art,” in addition to her absolute commitment to abstract art.