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Eternal, endless, this is how blue is transmitted by the great masters of art: Kandinsky, in the Blue Sky, Henri Matisse, in the last stage of his life with his cut and paste in Blue Nudes; Magritte, who wakes us with a timelessness sensation of eternity, when observing his works of blue skies and weightless clouds; Yves Klein, with his unmistakable ultramarine deep blue shade in his monochromatic works; or Louise Bourgeois, who gives it a repairing quality: “You have to start in some place, blue color”…
A color with history
Blue is the latest of colors, absent in the cave paintings filled with earth shades which were easier to reproduce. In nature there are not a lot of materials that serve like pigment and from the first blue created in Ancient Egypt, it is the most valued color. Blue was the nameless color in the Odyssey, where it was never mentioned. Homer uses descriptions like “dark wine” to describe the blue elements like the sea. It becomes the most desired color, and it even has the most evocative name. Because the name of ultramarine blue shade comes from the Latin “further than the sea”.
It bursted with the arrival of the Renaissance, it became the color reserved only for the most important figures, like the Virgin Mary. Fra Angelico, Rogier Van der Weyden, Tiziano, Vermeer, El Greco, Velázquez, they all craved the most pure and beautiful blue they could obtain. For this reason, the business of production and trade of blues was successful, as they considered it as valuable as gold. First expensive and exotic blues were produced for monarchs and aristocrats, then came massive and more economic production for the people.
From the Egyptian blue to the last discovery of a synthetic pigment that became a new a blue shade the YinMn (in 2009) – as the last was in 1802 with the production of blue cobalt- , 6.000 years have transcurred in the history of a color that has been for men like touching the sky with their own hands.
I like to inhabit blue
What is the significance of blue for me? Was the inspiring question after my visit to the Álvaro Alcázar Gallery “the blue”. A show composed from the first individual exhibit of Mari Quiñonero, a new artist to the gallery. It centers in the diversity of forms and colors thanks to an unpublished text and a series of pictorique works on paper and canvas around which the use of color is studied further than mere plastic expression.
This journey around “the carrousel of undeniable blues”, like Quiñonero defines, continues its path through the collective exposition in which works from artists of the gallery like Mari Puri Herrero, Rafael Canogar, Peter Krauskopf, Rebeca Plana y Guillem Nadal, as well as invited artists like Alejandro Botubol and Jude Castel. This exhibition, until the 28th of November (you can access the catalogue through this link), took me to take blue as a vehicle to pursue a trip through my senses.
If colors have a physical effect, a special resonance in those which observe, blue to me is stillness, equilibrium. I like to inhabit blue. The sensation of blue is not cold. It has accompanied me since my first memory, a warm cradle and refuge by this color. Because it is maybe a color of great power: Prussian, ultramarine, Egyptian, Indigo…For me it even has taste. It tastes of liberty. Summer. The touch of velvet. Sounds like a whispered melody. A fresh as well as deep smell…How can it be possible? Blue is round. Blue goes from being a color to a sensation of occupied serenity. And for you what is blue and where does it take you?
Photography: Óscar Rivilla
Translation: Covadonga López-Fanjul
Art Direction: Óscar Rivilla and Carolina Verd
Main picture: blue dress by Roberto Verino courtesy from Finally Press
Picture 2 and 4: Pants by Lebor Gabala courtesy from Finally Press; sneakers by Nike
Picture 3: blouse by Maje; pants by Hoss Intropia