Few months ago, while drinking an apéro, a close friend suddenly asked me “why don’t you wear colours sometimes? You always wear black!”. I answered her quietly “oh…c’mon! you know I wear white in summer!! Don’t you think this is enough for me?!”
By the way, the fact is that, even if I really love colours such as red, a well saturated yellow, blue, light blue, pale indigo or wild tangerine, I always return to black: not only because it has such a fascinating social history, but because wearing black is an education to the absolute. It’s a matter of “silence and slow time”, a constant growth of desire and the reward is a long, trustworthy endurance.
Being considered for centuries the denial of all colours and the synonym of evil, during classical times black had a different status: the Romans distinguished between ATER, an opaque black and its brighter shade called NIGER, thus it was a matter of reflection and, of course, light(ness) indeed!
So, I’ve started thinkin’ to a new métissage, combining the légéresse of black and its strong presence, matching a somber, but tumultuous lightness. Because you know how ligntness can be overflowing!
KARIN JOHANSSON, brooches from the Butterfly series – oxidized silver, 2010 and MAISON VALENTINO, haute couture spring coll. 2014.
Moreover, talking about black, I have to introduce you one of the greatest artist of our times, the one who devoted to black almost his entire artistic life: PIERRE SOULAGES (Rodez, France 1919).
PIERRE SOULAGES, Tableau 19 juin 1963, Paris- Musée de l’Art Moderne
From the early ’80s Soulages started painting in total black, giving to the colour an unforeseen clarity: that was the domain of “outrenoir” (beyondblack).
PIERRE SOULAGES, OUTRENOIR SERIES , Rodez, Musée Soulages
“L’outrenoir provient d’un développement. Je peignais une nuit et je continuais à travailler malgré mon désespoir de ne pas trouver ce que je cherchais. Quelque chose de plus fort en moi que l’intention que j’avais. Je suis allé dormir. Après une ou deux heures, je me suis levé et je suis retourné voir ce que j’avais fait. Alors je me suis aperçu que la matière que j’utilisais, ce n’était plus du noir. Ce n’était pas le noir. La matière que j’utilisais, c’était la lumière. La lumière, elle réfléchit le noir. Ma peinture, ce n’est pas ce qu’on croit voir: c’est la lumière. Si on voit ça noir, c’est qu’on a le ventre à la tête. Si on regarde avec les yeux, on s’aperçoit que ce n’est pas noir.” (Michael de Saintcheron interviewing Pierre Soulages, via HuffingtonPost France)
“The outrenoir comes up from a development. I painted one night and I continued to work despite my despair of not finding what I was looking for. There was something stronger in me than I had intended. I went to sleep. After one or two hours, I got up and went back to see what I had done. Then I realized that the material I used was no longer black. It was not black. The material I used was light. Light, it reflects the dark. My painting, it is not what one believes to see: it is light. If you see that black is that we have the stomach to the head. If you look with your eyes, you realize that it’s not black” (Michael de Saintcheron interviewing Pierre Soulages, via HuffingtonPost France).
BLACK, HISTORY OF A COLOUR by Michel Pastoureau
Meet KARIN JOHANNSSON, PIERRE SOULAGES and LE MUSEE SOULAGES
View the complete bibliography on Pierre Soulages via here: http://www.pierre-soulages.com/pages/biblio.html
Karin Johansson, red papillon brooch