In 1808, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe published Theory of Colours. This text renewed the discourse on colour, no longer framing it simply as a physics phenomenon, but as an actual physiological experience of its own. The German poet and chemist suggests we position the individual, the viewer, at the heart of his theory. He reflects on the human perception of colour, producing a number of links that rely on a broader pluridisciplinary approach to philosophy, natural history, acoustics, and even linguistics in order to establish the philosophy of aesthetics.
Whether it comes to reproducing Saussure’s process of measuring the exact blue of the sky, as is the case of the artistic duo Berger&Berger, or Caroline Corbasson’s elliptical lines that trace the fall and trajectory of celestial bodies, the physiological experience of colour serves as the galvanizing theme for this exhibition.
Elvire Bonduelle presents a series of rotating pictorial compositions, following a protocol tinged with humor. As she tests the viewer’s degree of attention towards her work, Bonduelle questions the act of painting as much as the act of viewing a painting.
Similarly, Audrey Perzo’s textile sculptures explore the possibilities of pictorial language through her use of large-scale industrial textiles. Systematically referring back to a concept typically expressed by language, her works constitute an attempt at formal expression freed from the constraints of words.
The intersection between education, play, and language recalls the De Stijl movement that theorized largely about the effect of form and colour on thought production. This brings to mind the educational toys imagined by the Dutch designer, Gerrit Rietveld. In Stephen Dean’s case, this exploration takes the form of a recomposition of familiar objects in order to underline their intrinsic colorimetric properties. This demonstration of the Principles of Harmony and Contrast of Colours, and Their Applications to the Arts explored by Dean is also explored in the work of Richard Gorman, where a dynamic tension is created by the vibrant juxtaposition of large color swaths.
James Rielly’s watercolor portraits position the viewer inversely as the subject of observation, once again positioning the individual at the center of the chromatic experience.
As such, ROUND COLOURS puts forward nine international artists whose practices pursue this attempt at an anthropological approach to colour.