Monday, September 8, 2008

Seeing Things

Bernard Lassus, 1965, Un Air Rose (The Tulip Experiment)

Following along from the Blue Flower / Red Flower in the Little Blue Guide, and of the play of light, and of the blue tulip ... thoughts on optics and ambience are swirling about. Contemplating the intersection of phenomenology and metaphysics, and returning to the work of French landscape theorist, Bernard Lassus. An early experiment of delicious simplicity became known as Un Air Rose, of which, unfortunately no colour images appear to exist. Placing a slice of white paper within the red tulip, the colour appeared to bleed across onto the white, to escape its very thingness, its quiddity, and become metaphysically animated. (One could, of course, 'try this at home', and revel in the revelation of defamiliarised optical effects).

Which leads one to Goethe, writer of Werther, and sometime colour theorist. Resisting the objectivity of optics, Goethe developed a subjective theory on the phenomena of colour, one which seems to hold tight to the early sense of 'aesthetics' as being more than simple visuality, but, well, some-thing else. And his observations on the way that colour arises 'at the edges' echoes with Lassus's observation on the Tulip, of the suffusing of colour into that which surrounds the object. Somehow so very much more affective, than the physical theories of optics, and which inform the condensation of colour that is different to that 'observed', as in my current Polaroid experimentation, that there is a haunting of the ether, a spectre in the spectrum ...

Goethe's Colour Wheel

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