“Blue has no dimensions, it is beyond dimensions … All colours arouse specific associative ideas, psychologically material or tangible, while blue suggests at most the sea and sky, and they, after all, are in actual, visible nature what is most abstract.” ~ Yves Klein
Blue has always had an important role in art, from its associations with luxury, royalty and spirituality, to the calming effect it has. The wide range of shades and tones of blue promote differing reactions; from light blue’s promotion of healing, health and tranquillity, to the dynamism and exhilaration expressed by darker blues.
Blue is a colour favoured by people across the world, including artists such as Yves Klein, Wassily Kandinsky and Louise Bourgeois. Scientific experiments have revealed that physical responses to blue include a slower pace of breath and heartbeat and a reduction of blood pressure. The colour blue quite literally exudes a sense of calm.
Blue is a cool colour that often stands in as a symbol for cold, just think of your bathroom and kitchen taps. Outside in winter the scenery and atmosphere often takes on a blue tint, with bright skies and frosty mornings. The photographs featured in this viewing room evoke the feeling of being cold. In Gerhard Richter’s image of the sky we glimpse the dark blue sky through a cluster of clouds, whilst Nan Goldin transports you to a blustering beach in her depiction of the coast.
This viewing room explores the ways artists have utilised blue and how it lends their artworks additional meaning. Winter Solstice has passed and brighter days are coming. This is a celebration of blue - from the skies in the surreal spaces and expanses of Mehdi Ghadyanloo, to the rich blues of Anish Kapoor’s sculptures and electric, metallic blue surfaces of Jeff Koons’ balloon dogs.
ANISH KAPOOR - VIEW COLLECTION
British-Indian artist Anish Kapoor is celebrated for his sculptures and installation and conceptual art. Kapoor’s sculptures demonstrate his expertise in working with a wide range of materials, from the plaster and granite to red wax, cement and stainless steel. Known for a tendency to use vibrant colours and reflective, polished surfaces, Kapoor constructs biomorphic forms which question perception and seem to defy gravity. Kapoor was awarded a CBE in 2003 and the Turner Prize.
MEHDI GHADYANLOO - VIEW COLLECTION
Mehdi Ghadyanloo is an Iranian artist, whose murals have made him the most prolific Iranian public artist with over 100 across the globe and in his native Iran. His use of blue is quite a foundational feature of his artworks, creating skies and dream like settings for his compositions. Ghadyanloo’s choice of colour and motif draws comparison to the European surrealist artists, his medium has him compared to the Banksy of Iran.
NAN GOLDIN - VIEW COLLECTION
Nan Goldin is an American artist best known for her portrait photography. Focusing on the members of the LGBT community and the subcultures of the HIV crisis and opioid epidemic, Goldin’s intimate photographs capture the struggles of marginalised groups with such simplicity. The candid and intimate nature of Goldin’s images take photography back to basics, using her medium as a deeper exploration into her personal relationships.
JEFF KOONS - VIEW COLLECTION
Neo-pop artist Jeff Koons is widely regarded as one of the most influential living artists. Famous for his sculptures that depict everyday objects, Koons tackles popular culture with his witty balloon animals with stainless steel surfaces. The artist plays with ideas of pleasure, celebrity culture and commerce, creating an unforgettable ironic style. Koons’ art borrows from art historical styles such as concept art and pop art, formulating his own amalgamation of influences.
GERHARD RICHTER - VIEW COLLECTION
Throughout his career, Richter has navigated between realism and abstraction, exploring the material implications of various mediums without restraint. Richter actively distorts his artworks by dragging paint across the surface, obscuring the marks he made previously. This multi-step process of creating an artwork and then immediately covering it with more layers is the perfect example of painterly distortion. We love how Richter uses distortion to add an air of mystery to his artworks.
To discover more blue art, take a look at our collection of blue artworks here.