Colour experiment no. 66 (cyanometer), 2014
A continuation of Olafur Eliasson’s experiments in colour theory, this circular oil painting presents a variation on the cyanometer, a tool developed separately by Horace-Bénédict de Saussure and Alexander von Humboldt in the 18th century to measure the blueness of the sky. The artist’s cyanometer paintings explore two spectrums – black to blue to white and black to yellow to white.
Since 2009, the artist has been engaged in a project involving a new colour theory based on the prismatic colours. He began these experiments by working with a colour chemist to mix in paint an exact colour for each nanometre of light in the visible spectrum, which ranges in frequency from approximately 390 to 700 nanometres. Since the initial experiments, Eliasson has used this palette to make a large number of painted works on circular canvases, known collectively as the Colour experiment paintings.