Organiser: Instytut Adama Mickiewicza
Curator: Agnieszka Jacobson-Cielecka
When: 17 – 26 maja 2019
Where: Centrum Festiwalowe Art_Inkubator w Fabryce Sztuki, ul. Tymienieckiego 3
It’s no problem to define individual colours like green, blue or red. But it’s when you put them together that they stop being so straightforward. The way we see and use colour actually depends on a number of factors like cultural and physical context, light and the natural surroundings or our own preferences. But if you ask a designer about how they pick their colours, you won’t hear a thing about nature or tradition. They’ll just shrug their shoulders because what they do is pick those materials that are readily available and go for the colours that are fashionable and sell well. But still, when they have to choose a shade of green – they choose one over another. And then they’ll juxtapose it will a very specific tint of blue. Some colours they steer clear of, while others keep reappearing in their collections. And remember that although each colour is coded with a unique number, it changes depending on the material, surface and context in which it is placed. It’s not uncommon for green to pass on as blue or brown, and the other way round – blue can seem like green, sometimes also purple or grey.
While the exhibition presents vases and fabrics, its not the cylindrical, conical or ball-shaped items of porcelain, stoneware, glass or wood and not the weaves and ornaments that play the leading role here. It’s the colours selected by designers for items that resemble each other in certain ways. Brought together and assorted by colour, together they make up a palette of shades used by design artists in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Poland. Do these colours mean anything? Can we tell, looking at them from the perspective of our region, that they’re Central European?
The exhibition is accompanied by a series of photographs documenting the places where the vases blended in with their surroundings, disguised themselves proving the volatile nature of colour. Although colour can be measured, it cannot be defined. It keeps changing. That’s why it is such a powerful design tool and such a rich language which we somehow forgot how to use.
The exhibition does not serve to prove anything. The assortment of 20 designers and about 40 items doesn’t even pretend to be objective. Its goal is to encourage us to talk about the colour identity of our region. What are the colours we most frequently use? Why do we choose them over others? Why do we like to put them together? It’s time to stop just shrugging our shoulders when they ask us about colour.