By adding colors on monochromatic images, John Baldessari transforms the way we read them, shifting from specific topics to pure action, and implements a parallel discourse through the symbolism each color conveys.

The debate over the nature of colors has long stimulated the scientifc and artistic world. Theo van Doesburg took part in it with his distinction of three main trends regarding colors in architecture. He names ‹decorative architecture› the one where colors act as independent elements, such as the baroque frescoes painted on a building’s surfaces ; ‹constructive architecture› is the expression of a building’s constructive elements through color, as in the way Brunelleschi exposed the anatomy of his buildings with colors ; and in ‹plastic architecture›, color becomes material and is taken as an inseparable component of architecture.

With its intangible materiality, its changing characteristics and its many hidden meanings, the topic of color remains a difficult problematic to which some prefer reacting with white. In a text from 1924, Adolf Behne described the « dread of color » by mentionning the chic and refined image evoked by « grey pearl or white », adding to that, « the absence of color is the mark of education ». Now, almost a century later, what is our position regarding this ongoing debate?


For our discussion, we are looking for positions and theses in the form of essays, graphic pieces, photographic series or scientific articles. We are primarily interested in a brief abstract of your proposal, due by 17th October 2016.


image credits : 

© John Baldessari, ‹Source›, 1987, B+W Photographs, Vinyl Paint 60.25 x 48 inches