aus unruhigen Träumen

Helen Frankenthaler, Around the Clock with Red, 1983
(Hunter Museum of American Art).

Walter Benjamin writes:

Colors can have a very strong effect on the smoker. A corner of S’s room was decorated with shawls that hung on the wall. On a chest covered with a lace shawl were a couple of glasses with flowers. In the shawls and in the flowers the color red predominated – in the most diverse shades. I made the discovery of this corner late and quite suddenly, at an already advanced stage of the fête. Its effect on me was almost stupefying. For a moment, it seemed to me that my task was to discover the meaning of the color with the help of this absolutely incomparable instrument. I named this corner the “Laboratoire du Rouge.” My first attempt to work in it did not succeed. But I came back to it later. All I remember of this undertaking at present is that the problematic for me had become displaced. It became more general and extended chiefly to colors. What distinguished them seemed to me to be, above all, that they possessed form, that they made themselves perfectly identical to the matter in which they appeared. Yet insofar as they looked quite alike on very different things – for example, a flower petal or a sheet of paper– they appeared as intermediaries or go-betweens in the realms of matter: only through them could the most widely divergent of these realms be wholly united with one another.

Source: aus unruhigen Träumen

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