Red. “Coloratus” in Latin means as much “red” as to be “colored”. The same in Spanish with the word “tinto”. It seems the color par excellence therefore is red. Why? Red pigment is found the most often in nature, yet red is not so commonly found in the environment, certainly not like the greens, the browns and the blues…. Red is the color of power and of the revolution, the color of the emperor and of the prostitute. Red is the color of the martyr and of lascivious desire. All of this makes one reflect. The color par excellencies that which distinguishes itself, that marks a discontinuity, a fracture.
Why do I consider that a thing is colored? Because it distinguishes itself. Generally, I do not notice that people I see along the way are dressed in colors . However, I do recognise a reaction if I happen to encounter a person dressed in garish, bright colors. And what color is brighter than red, the color of fire? “In red unfolds the fire”, wrote Goethe. Red ” acts in the interior in the most vital, lively and restless way”, continues W. Kandinsky.
In short, it would appear that ‘color’ is that which distinguishes and stands out from a background and shatters the homogeneity, the indistinct, the neutral. Color individuates, it makes one aware of the existence of ‘the other’ rather than ‘the myself’. It awakens my conscience and imposes upon me that which is ‘other’ than me. And it is precisely red – as a bright, high-pitched color capable of recalling or even of stirring (that is to awaken) the attention – that which helps to make this consideration more general.
We are unable to meet in a ‘color’. A color can be contemplated, loved or hated. A color can also be heard. Color, therefore, breaks our solitude and brings us joy or pain of a presence that dwells within. Red, in particular, certainly doesn’t admit indifference, at least when not diluted by the presence of another color, for example black, which muffles, flattens and extinguishes it. Red, however, doesn’t help us to communicate, to reach a compromise. At least when the conversation is not interwoven as a fusion of colors with different accentuations, like a patchwork, where pieces of different color are placed side by side.
But what does it mean to converse, to enter into a dialogue? It means to find an area of tenuos colors, a mitigated and humble meeting-place, or to experience a matching which is abrupt and surprising or even disorientating by colors still bright ?
(translated by Andrew Rutt)