Purity, Loyalty, Desire, Depth, Sky, Serenity
The colour blue is a hallmark for these and many other associations. A colour that has always taken on outstanding significance in art and literature. Even the ancient Egyptians adorned their pharaohs with lapis lazuli, the colour of the gods. Maria wore a blue cloak as the Queen of Heaven. In Romantic poetry in particular, blue became the embodiment of longing and dreams.
For a then 20-year old Picasso, the “Blue Period” marked an important phase in his artistic career. It was a time to process grief and solitude. Wassily Kandinsky and Franz Marc named their artistic group the “Blue Rider”, led by their penchant for the colour. Kandinsky wrote: “The deeper the blue becomes, the more strongly it calls man towards the infinite, awakening in him a desire for the pure and, finally, the supernatural.” (Concerning the Spiritual in Art (Über das Geistige in der Kunst), 1911)
Featuring a selection of works by the artists Umberto Faini, Valentino Vago and Carlo Bertè, the exhibit “The Spirit of Blue” highlights how contemporary artists apply and process this colour in their art.
Umberto Faini’s print graphics radiate a deep serenity with their clear blue background. Subtle, animated colourful strokes – sometimes closer, sometimes farther apart – that lend the picture endless depth. The merging lines, which flow from dark blue into vibrant orange, yellow and pink, enhance and complement each other, achieving the ultimate impact of colour and light. This is characteristic of Impressionists, in particular Pointillists, who investigate how colour and light are mutually dependent on one another. The absolute radiance of the paintings is only evident when viewed from a distance.
Valentino Vago’s works make use of two particular motifs that calls to mind blue in the natural world: the sky and water. Blue also appears in the most varied gradations as a material in the foreground. By reserving his interpretation of the setting, Vago, who paints exclusively with his hands, offers the viewer plenty of freedom to enter into his works and expand in any and all directions the mind’s eye will permit. Whether dark clouds over a bright horizon or merging water flows, the paintings appear balanced and serene.
Carlo Bertè’s paintings primarily depict nocturnal atmospheres with abstract constructions and landscapes protruding from twilit to distinctly night-time skies. The imperfections and discolouration of old and used canvases allow the artist to emphasize the plasticity of luminous buildings. In contrast, the occasionally deep blue heavens shine in the background lending the abandoned surroundings optimism and hope.
All the pieces in this exhibit showcase the world in its many facets: be it colourful and jaunty, with a bright horizon or dark clouds or as a sentiment of loneliness and abandonment offset by the sky. The dalliance between light and the colour blue as the embodiment of serenity, balance and hope shows what mankind really desires.