Derek Jarman

Derek Jarman (31.01.42 – 19.02.94)

In his book Chroma: A Book of Colour June ’93 Jarman takes us on a history lesson of colour, it’s usage through the ages and examines its social connotations.

Whilst reading, you also realise that Jarman’s sight is deteriorating; I’ve not yet reached the end, and I think I am anxious to, but he writes with humour and passion so I will persevere.

He also shares this wonderful line which has inspired a lot of my MA practice…

“if you spin a colour wheel fast enough it turns white”

There is some science ‘stuff’ to explain why that happens, but in its simplest form I would say that white holds all of the other colours within it, even though it appears to be the colour of ‘nothing’.

Is this why white walls are less offensive, because we can actually see (or feel) our favourite colours glaring through?  Or why being bathed in white light makes us feel good, because actually so much colour is washing over us?

If you haven’t got round to making the spinning colour wheel yet, or perhaps you couldn’t “see white”, this video gives you an idea…

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