Last month I visited the new Design Museum in Kensington, London for a look around the ‘Breathing Colour’ exhibition by Hella Jongerius.
I didn’t know much about it but knew that it would definitely appeal to my obsessive sense of colour…
What I hadn’t anticipated was how the exhibition and the way in which Hella Jongerius explores and works with colour, would form part of a new appreciation I am personally exploring at the moment with colour, light and shadow.
I recently read Tanizaki’s ‘In Praise of Shadows’ which opened up so many questions and thoughts about how I view light and shadow, and so to then walk into an exhibition which examines how colours change and ‘breathe’ with times of day was not only serendipitous but also completely fascinating.The exhibition examines how we perceive colour and encourages us to be receptive of the effect that shape, texture, pattern and colour have on each other and Hella Jongerius has created a collection of Colour Catchers and textiles in an immersive light changing environment which leads you to experience metarism where colours come to life, changing and morphing at different times.
Hella Jongerius says of the Colour Catchers which she creates;
‘These Colour Catchers are an abstaraction of all the daily objects which surround me. They are the ultimate shapes for researching colour, shadows and reflections. They are my canvases.
‘The colour phenomena and optical effects demonstrated in this exhibition are not just abstract theories. The exhibits are designed to provide knowledge about colour that can add value to practical objects and improve our daily lives.’ I have always found the perception of colour fascinating and when I was studying Art A Level my art teacher completely opened my mind to seeing colours in places I had never seen them before. My work at that time became way too obsessed with colour, because it really was like I was seeing the world with new eyes…shadow and tone went out of the window and to be honest, they are still always something I have to work harder to see.
This exhibition really re-awakened my interest in colour as well as colour theory but also opened another door into the joy of shadows, alongside the Tanizaki I’d been reading.
The exhibition is a brilliant contemplation of colour and really lets you think and look at the world around you; the visual, tactile world as well as the intangible, ever changing world of light and shadow around us.
If you are in London over the Summer and up to 24rd September, you really should try and get to see the ‘Breathing Colour’ exhibition and visit the Design Museum itself. It’s an inspiring study and collection of work focused around colour which would appeal to fellow colour enthusiasts like me, but also those people who struggle with colour.
More information about the Design Museum here