A series of newly commissioned installations, exploring our perceptions and connections to colour. Research, art and design combine in works that challenge the modern industrialization of colour.
Drawing on 15 years of research, acclaimed designer Hella Jongerius presents Breathing Colour: an installation-based exhibition that takes a deeper look at how colour behaves.
Jonerius’ research has been inspired by a wide range of sources. These include painters, who recognized and recorded how light affects objects. For example Monet who painted the same haystack over and over to document the different colours and atmospheres at different times of day.
Breathing Colour creates an exhibition that blurs the boundaries between art and design. Combining intriguing shapes with extensive research: the exhibition questions our preconceptions of colour and embraces its imperfections and experimentation.
Hella Jongerius explains:
‘There is a phenomenon in colorimetry called Metamerism. This was the starting point of my colour research. It occurs when colours are viewed in different conditions, and describes the effect when two colours appear to match even though they might not actually do. I think everyone once bought a piece of furniture or clothingin a certain colour, and experienced a shock when unpacking it back at home. Most companies see the effect as problematic and try to avoid it, and produce colours that attempt to eliminate it. But I want to make a plea for embracing metamerism. As a designer, I want to make a plea for plastics, varnishes and paints to use layered pigments that provide intense colours that are allowed to breathe with changing light.’
The exhibition is divided into separate spaces that simulate daylight conditions at specific times of day-morning-noon and evening. These three phases explore the impact of changing daylight on our perception of colour. Each installation includes a series of 3D objects as well as textiles. Some of which are hand-woven while others are produced on industrial looms.
Large –scale textiles experiment in creating black tones without the use of black materials. Woven from woolen, linen and cotton threads, these textiles are an extension of Jongerius’ previous research into the colour
Black and her rejection of the standard industrial approach, to adding carbon to colours in order to darken them.
Where colours were once produced by mixing pigments into infinite permutations, we now select them according to a name on a chart.
Jongerius argues that these processes of industrialization have narrowed our experience of colour and its cultural meanings. Breathing Colour explores how we relate to colour in a more intimate and personal way.
At The Design Museum 224-238 Kensington High Street London W8 6AG
28th June – 24th September 2017