Presented by Gildar Gallery in collaboration with Hilario Galguera Gallery as part of Condo Mexico City 2018
What could be a more codependent lover than colour? A loose spectrum of identities defined by association and degree. No blue is in fact true, but shades of whatever else it encounters along the way. This wheel of reason has long been canon; Goethe first observed it, Kandinsky and Klee believed it a spiritual matter, Albers, the pragmatist (who, by the way, created his colour theory in Oaxaca), taught it was all relative. Even those ambitious artists who have attempted to encompass vision with a singular pigment or light have had to contend with edges, both physical or temporal. What is the colour of the wall around the Rothko, or the floor in front of the Kelly monochromes, or the bathrooms just after leaving a Turrell perceptual cell?
But this incestuous set of relationships is only part of colour’s enmeshed love triangle. What about its entanglements with the world of experience beyond itself? Can colour be separated from context? Saturation from meaning? Hue from symbols? Despite, or maybe exactly because of its many referential qualities, colour has evaded accuracy in language. While modern sociology tells us most humans across cultures have a low vocabulary of individual colour terms at our disposal – between single and low double digits – browse any Home Depot paint aisle and you’ll find an expansive and absurd chromatic dictionary – Whispering Peach, Dragon’s Blood, Mermaid Net, Phantom Mist, Grandma’s Sweater, Likeable Sand. These saccharine linguistics turn the built environment into a blank slate waiting to be coated in the wooing nonsense of bad haiku and gooey sonnets. But what about those equally associative names that don’t show up in marketable labels: Blooming Contusion, Fresh Puss, Clotted Blood, Peeling Scab. Are these colours truly that far outside of our array of palatable choices? Can a bouquet of roses by any other name be both Architectural Digest approved and a trauma trigger?