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Colour experiment no. 108, 2020




In 2009, Olafur Eliasson began a series of circular paintings inspired by the idea of producing a new, comprehensive colour theory that would comprise all the visible colours of the prism. He began by working with a colour chemist to mix in paint an exact tone for each nanometre of light in the spectrum, which ranges in frequency from approximately 390 to 700 nanometres. Since those initial experiments, Eliasson has branched out to make a large number of painted works on circular canvases, known collectively as the colour experiments. A number of these works take their palettes from other sources, from historical paintings by J. M. W. Turner or Caspar David Friedrich, for example. In this case, the muted tones in the background were derived from the colours found in a photograph taken by the artist in Iceland in 2012. A formless multicolored explosion spreads out from the centre of the canvas, contrasting starkly with the smooth, even background.

Acrylic on canvas