My painting Tinzen Blue (oil on canvas, 30 x 183 cm) for the The Horizontal Within, The Horizontal Without, exhibition at Lubomirov/Angus Hughes, until February 5th. Below, installation view of painting within Archival Configuration, installation curated by Peter Suchin with work by Peter Suchin, Louise Bristow and myself.
Kandinsky reinforces the relationship of the colour blue to distance in these quotations from The Spiritual in Art (1911).
- Blue … moves in upon itself, like a snail retreating into its shell, and draws away from the spectator.
- The inclination of blue to depth is so strong that its inner appeal is stronger when its shade is deeper.
- Blue is the typical heavenly colour.
- I perceive blue as a movement of detachment from man, from the human, a movement that draws us toward the centre of this colour but also towards the infinite, awakening in us a desire for the pure and, finally, for the supernatural.
In painting, aerial perspective employs the colour blue to signify far distance; using it to reinforce the structural rigging of Cartesian perspective, in which the distance between us, the viewer, and objects depicted is fixed. We are conceived as detached, analytical observers of what is before us.
This structure is upended in phenomenological analysis, in which the idea of the space between the viewer and the thing being observed is rethought, rather than detached observers we in the world with things. What is logically far away is made closer when we observe it.
Martin Heidegger called this Entfurnung, which in the Macquarrie and Robinson translation of Being and Time is rendered as “deseverance” – a word that can be defined as “the opposite of being cut off from.” For Heidegger it is a condition of the spatiality of our dasein that we experience things, which are objectively at a distance from us, as close by, as being with us, the moment we engage with them.
The Blue Mountain, 1908-09, oil on canvas, 106 x 96.6 cm
Guggenheim Museum, New York