Curated by Dr. Arshiya Lokhandwala, the survey exhibition explores artists’ engagement with the colour Prussian Blue. Although Prussian Blue is widely used in the artist’s colour palette its uniqueness is relatively unknown, nor is its link between art and science. It was by accident in a Berlin laboratory (then a centre for alchemy) in 1704 that changed the course of art forever. Two German alchemists, Jacob Diesbach and Johann Konrad Dippel chemists rushed to create a batch of cochineal red (made from bugs) and accidentally used potash contaminated by (the iron in) animal blood that turned the concoction a deep blue – henceforth known as Prussian blue or Berliner Blau, due to its geographic origins and because the Prussian army dyed its soldiers’ jackets with the colour. This new blue pigment was not only affordable but also stable (colourfast) and became an instant sensation.
The works in this exhibition are specially commissioned for the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art in various mediums including painting, sculpture, video, and installation art. For example: the Cyanotypes experiments Interplay # 139 by Parul Gupta, or Sea-wind of the Night, a painting by Anju Dodiya on fabric which draws on the Japanese woodblock artist Katsushika Hokusai’s iconic The Great Wave off Kanagawa or the majestic painting by N S Harsha, Andhar Bahaar of an astronaut looming in deep space or Mithu Sen’s Tritanopia (blindness of Blue) that contains no blue to name a few, allow us to contemplate a deeper understanding of colour and its significance.