Our Colour, Site-specific Installation (T5 fluorescent bulbs, cellulose gels), Dimensions variable, these image shows 10,000 sq ft, 2016. This artwork is part of a series under the umbrella title Your Colour Perception that began in a residency at Castlefield Gallery’s New Art Spaces Federation House last year. Our Colour is an immersive light installation, developed with experts and designed as an experiment in human colour perception. Using light as a sculptural material, the artist explores the physical, emotional and psychological effects of colour within a space.
Does colour change the way you feel? What does it feel like to be inside a rainbow? For the 2016 edition of the Bristol Biennial British artist Liz West invited visitors to drench themselves in the spectrum. West transformed architectural space and turned colour into an immersive and embodied experience by refracting light through carefully arranged coloured theatre gels. A vivid world was created, exploring human visual perception and how colour affects our emotions and our bodies.
West's work dominates an entire floor of a Bristol office building-turned-creative space called The Pithay, transforming its harsh fluorescents with colored theater gels.
West has specific requirements for a space to ensure her work pops. Carpetless floors, white walls with blacked out windows, and blank columns tend to reflect light with the most pizzazz, and she spent months inspecting locations over FaceTime with Bristol Biennial organizers before settling on The Pithay. "Many office spaces that were built within the last 30 years seem to fit this brief perfectly when emptied of desks and other office paraphernalia." "The curved space at The Pithay lends itself beautifully to demonstrating color, as we naturally associate a curve of colour with the rainbow." Visitors are drenched in rich reds, solemn blues, and vibrant yellows as they walk through Our Colour, which West says can deeply affect their headspace. “Most people rarely have the experience of being completely immersed in pure color. I observe that after moving through the space—walking, running, dancing—and experiencing every color, people often go back to the color they find most comfortable; they will then stand, sit or lay there for some time to reflect,” she says.
The 2016 edition of the Bristol Biennial festival took the theme of In Other Worlds. From 2-10 September 2016, this nine day festival of visual art explored the city of Bristol as a microcosm of the world: a place where diverse cultures and experiences co-exist and a space where different perspectives, motivations and dreams collide.
The festival presented 13 artworks in the form of walks, talks, performances, public artworks, events, and sound and light installations. Artists developed new work in response to Bristol and in collaboration with its physical and social structures.
Our Colour by Liz West at Bristol Biennial. Film by Cam Sand
Our Colour by Liz West at Bristol Biennial. Film by Cam Sander
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Art matters. Attention to the details of our environment leads to love of place, which brings us to take responsibility for the spaces where we live and work. And by extension, the people with whom we live and work. And by extension, to our local communities, our cities, our nations, and our world.
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