I realise that I haven't posted here for a while so I am sorry if you have been waiting. so here goes for the usual stream of consciousness post, that comes in my blog. If you would lie a more considered way to follow me then please register for my emails which tend to be shorter and more to the point.
So |I am currently working on a series called Alchemy to Chemistry, I have taken some of my most favoured ancient pigments and found their industrial revolution counterparts and built a collection from these. In particular I am using madder, vine black, bone black, ochres, indigo, ultramarine and their counterparts Mars pigments, French ultramarine alizarin, synthetic indigo and synthetic carbon black. The thinking behind this collection is around what rapid change does, the philosophies which arise in times of rapid technological change especially around ideas of time, notions of purity, ideas of subjectivity, objectivity and neutrality.
So in the provcess of working with these new pigments, I have had to learn how to use them.. they tend to be far more concentrated, so that a much smaller amount of pigment is required for any given colour. They are also more uniform. The way in which these pigments in particular were synthesised was by chemically analysing them, picking o t a key chemical colourant and reproducing that. Mineral and vegetable pigments actually conatain more than one chemical colourant, which gives them their variations. Ideas about light and the spectrum and purity came into play when the pigments were being developed. In using these pigments I have found a challenge in working through these differences, and it has made me think about the associated ideas surrounding production. these pigments in many ways were part of the developing ability to manufacture at scale and consistency.
the echoes with current technological change are also there, with any gain we get from technology what are the loses? With any idea of purity or consistency where is the beauty in imperfection. Is the standard thing the better thing? And in particular for whom are these developments beneficial?
Usually the pigments stories and their ancient roots echoes , at least for me through the colour. Is this poetry destroyed when the pigments are refined?