“It’s another yellow day in a nowhere place”
Louise Bourgeois once said « Colour is stronger than language. It’s a subliminal communication. » Within the spectrum of light that is visible to humans exist infinite yellow colours. Each variation of yellow evokes different associations in our minds and hearts. Subtle changes in hue may bring up memories and beyond personal associations, history has bestowed upon us cultural associations as well.
Impressionist theory, the philosophy of Josef Albers, the artists who worked under the name of Color Field Painting, the contemporary metaphysics of Olafur Eliasson, all were passionate about particular shades.
In this project, I want to experiment a particular colour and its multiple possibilties. I think that there are endless variations of tone and proportion, resulting in different moods and effects. I want the paintings to be highly expressive, to glow from within, conveying strong emotional content. Like Rothko, I am moved by color relationships, but I don’t want my pictures appreciated solely for their spectral qualities. He said, “If you are only moved by color relationships, then you miss the point. I’m interested in expressing the big emotions – tragedy, ecstasy, doom.” Aiming to envelop the viewer in only one particular colour, applied on large-sized canvases, the expected effect of the paintings is an intense emotion or ethereality.
Because it was widely available, yellow ochre pigment was one of the first colours used in art. The Lascaux cave in France has a painting of a yellow horse 17,000 years old. Ochre and orpiment pigments were used to represent gold and skin colour in Egyptian tombs, then in the murals in Roman villas. The word yellow comes from the Old English geolu, geolwe, meaning both bright and gleaming, and to cry out.
In the west, yellow is not a well-loved colour. Yellow is the colour of ambivalence and contradiction : the colour associated with optimism and amusement, wisdom and knowledge, but also with betrayal, duplicity and jealousy. But in China and other parts of Asia, yellow is a colour of virtue and nobility.
Like Turner, who was one of the first in that century to use yellow to create moods and emotions, I want to use a colour in the way romantic composers were using music. Like Vincent Van Gogh, an avid student of colour theory and a particular admirer of the colour yellow (the colour of sunshine), I want to explore the combinations of yellow and purple for the maximum contrast and harmony. He wrote from the south of France in 1888 « The sun, a light that for lack of a better word I can only call yellow, bright sulfur yellow, pale lemon gold. How beautiful yellow is! »
The 21st century saw the use of unusual materials and technologies to create new ways of experiencing the colour yellow. Like Olafur Eliasson, I think that working on the definitions and debates around the history, meaning and use of colour in contemporary art, is an interesting subject today. As the essence of landscape, of mood, of our whole perception of the physical world, colour is central to art not only as an element but also as an idea. By producing works that present colours in previously unseen combinations, materials and situations, contemporary artists are creating new ways for us to see, feel and respond to colour in contemporary art. They are opening up new horizons which expand our awareness and our perceptions. Colour is a vital element of my work, as it ties in so broadly to the myths of contemporary culture.
This project is named after the lyrics of a song by Laurie Andersson, an american singer and performer.