Proun Gallery presents a visual study devoted to the metaphysics of the blue color.
It is believed that the word "blue" is etymologically related to the word "glow" (in Russian the words have the same root). Being the color of the bright sky and the sea, the blue represents the height and the depth, possessing a metaphysical sense. In different cultures the blue color means constancy, loyalty, justice, goodness, meditation, peace. The blue reflects the contradictory and volatile conditions - day and night, the cyclical processes of all life on earth from birth to death.
Scientific research had great impact on the understanding and perception of the different colors. The artists of the early twentieth century based themselves on Chevrel research, which was preceded by the works of Newton and Goethe, which were based on the analysis of the psychological effects of color. At the dawn of the XIX century the German romantic Philipp Otto Runge arranged colors on the ball in an effort to demonstrate the unity of the blue, red and yellow. He showed the blue color WITHIN THE RANGE OF azure to dark blue, almost black. Such a difference in the intensity of blue caused the duality of its symbolic interpretation in the culture of different nations during the history of mankind. Matyushin and Kandinsky, Itten and Ostwald were studying the psychological impact of colors and their combinations on human being.
The coming of the twilight in the culture of the Silver Age is the moment when the reality is losing its materiality and everything around is immersed in the blue, reincarnating into other elements. Symbolism brought to the art a sense of life as the "blue hour", which reflects the internal state of a human being (see Blok’s poem "And over the world, immobilized by cold, / The blue hour ran resonantly" – the translation was not found - editor’s note ). The blue color of the fin du siècle artists is the color of contemplation. In Paris in 1912 the perfumer Jacques Guerlain created the perfume L'Heure Bleu, which flavor was supposed to remind the hour (“heure” in French), when it begins to get dark, and the city gradually falls in mist, which brings the secret passion. This transition time is short, as short as human life is. The blue is the sorrow for the gone, feeling of the transience of life, of the eternity, of the melancholy.
Russian Symbolists, members of the artistic association "Blue Rose", had a common feature in painting - the increased sensitivity to color and its shades, as well as their musical associations. The blue color was associated with water and the infinite heavens, located outside the madding crowd. Shades of blue dominated in most paintings presented at the exhibition in 1907. Igor Grabar wrote: "It seemed that a general scale was proposed to all the participants".
The exhibition of the Proun gallery contains "blue" works of P. Utkin, P. Kuznetsov, N. Sapunov, N. Ryabushinsky, N.Krymov, N. Miliotti, which are related to the “Blue Rose” period, as well as works created by them in later years, but still showing the same love for the blue color, its depth and complexity of shades.
Using the decorativeness of the blue color, the artists of the first half of the twentieth century appealed to it to create panels, stage scenery and costumes.
Lev Bakst has actively used the blue color in the set design of ballet performances of "Russian Seasons" of Diaghilev, stylizing antique and oriental motifs to create a refined and fantastic spectacle. Ballets "Cleopatra" (1909), "Scheherazade" and "Carnival" (1910), "Spectre de la Rose" and "Narcissus" (1911), "Blue God," "Daphnis and Chloe" and "Afternoon of a Faun" (1912) struck western audience by the decorative fantasy, wealth and power of color.
Nicholay Roerich idolized blue color and the full range of its shades, which allowed him to convey a powerful spiritual origin and the relationship between man and the cosmos. The brilliant fashion artist Erte (Roman Tyrtov), one of the founders of the Art Deco style, famous as a fashion designer in Paris, the artist of onstage dress, fashion magazine illustrator, designer of the ballet performances and music hall plays, generously used blue in his works.
Expressionist made the blue color a style-creating value. For Kandinsky the blue was the color of spirituality associated with the mysteries of human existence, with wandering and searching for meaning in life. The artists of the "Blue Rider" group emphasized the importance of the blue color, as a color with propensity for abstraction, in addition, from their point of view, it associated with machismo, in opposition to yellow, which for them was the bearer of the feminine.
The important role to color, including the blue one, was given by Russian avant-garde artists. Malevich, basing on the traditions of Russian icon painting, revived the symbolism of color. In the mid-1910s he wrote: "... a change of form and color happens in art not on the basis of visual perception, but due to a change of the mental side, i.e creative ideas”. For Malevich and his circle of artists, such as L. Khidekel and K.Rozhdestvensky, color and shape are evolving together in the context of the overall feeling of the picturesque sensation. In suprematism the color and shape are not seen in isolation, but are a single entity, and are used to transmit the general tension and dynamics. Following the master the floc of Malevich continued to use the symbolic meaning of color even in the postsuprematic period: the blue of the sky indicates the relationship between man and Heaven, the spirituality and gentleness of the Russian peasant and human being in general in the face of society and God.
Blue is the color of infinity, of the future. This role was given to the blue color by the architect Yakov Chernikhov in his works, who created architectural fantasies. Chernikhov developed forms of machinery and mechanisms, demonstrating the influence of color on visual perception of different forms.
During the years of the Great Patriotic War Lazarus Khidekel, working on sketches of the monuments to the heroes, used the blue as a color which symbolizes peace and quiet.
By the middle of the twentieth century the humanity was enriched with new scientific knowledge about the cosmos and the world. Artists again turned to the clear blue color while creating the monochrome canvases. Yves Klein on a lecture at the Sorbonne said: "The blue space (when looking at the sky) is nothing more than a measure of the depth ... At first it is nothing, then – deep nothing and finally – the blue depth." The year 1957th was announced by Yves Klein as the beginning of "the era of blue" and utopian "blue revolution" of freedom and beauty.
The blue color for the artists of the second half of the twentieth century became the color of concentration, the surrounding world and temet nosce. Pierre Soulages and Barnett Newman went to the blue color. Newman became an apologist of the blue monochrome painting, which started to be called “blue painting”. This tradition was continued by Mark Rothko, who created paintings with a powerful color-light energy.
Michelle Pasturo, who devoted a chapter of his best-seller “History of color” to the blue, even claimed this color to be his most favorite in the modern Western society, where he became associated with peace and tranquility. This color is not repellent and shocking. According to the eminent scientist, "blue does not offend anyone's feelings, does not transgressing any prohibitions, it promotes harmony and unity. No wonder all major international organizations have chosen logos in blue or dark-blue colors: the League of Nations once did it, and in our day - the United Nations, UNESCO, the European Union, and the Council of Europe did that also. The blue color has become international, it’s mission - to promote peace and cooperation between nations, this is the task which in many troubled areas of the world the "blue helmets" of UN are fulfilling”.
Proun gallery Project unites more than 60 paintings and drawings, installations, objects from museums and private collections.