Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Readings and writings on colour

Gerhard Richter: 1025 Colours, 1974 Private collection © Gerhard Richter

I spent some of the snowed-in period catching up with hand-written correspondence (yes, some people still write in ink and on paper) and making small-ish online purchases. For me this usually means books. Having been away for a few days the orders are now flooding in and I am very excited about my new pile of books on my fragile desk. Among them are A.S.Byatt's The Children's Book, which is set in the V&A and features a ceramicist.

Earlier today I was trying to get my new undergraduate students excited about ceramics and was later talking with an art historian specialising in ceramics about the vibrancy, brilliance and permanence of colours used in and on ceramics. Byatt wrote a very nice piece on ceramics in The Guardian a while ago, coinciding with the opening of the new Ceramics Galleries at the V&A. I can highly recommend it: http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2009/oct/10/byatt-ceramics-victoria-albert

So now I am looking forward to the novel. Fiction has become a bit of a wrench for me, I wonder whether this will capture me.

Fritware bowl, probably from Iznik, c1530. Photograph: V&A Images

The other book on colour that is waiting to be read is the catalogue of an exhibition I couldn't visit (too far away, not relevant enough for my research), COLOUR CHART: Reinventing Colour 1950 to Today, at Tate Liverpool last year. I was impressed with the website accompanying the exhibition, but it could be argued that it is relatively easy to create visually stunning web-based images and designs if the theme is colour and abstraction. Some of the 19th century items I am going to look at next Monday at the Colour Reference Library of the Royal College of Art in London were on loan to this exhibition, suggesting the curators made the effort to provide an historical background.

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