Relations between hues can be understood using the Colour Wheel.
The truth is never the same; there can be truth only in the form of the other world and the other life.
—Michel Foucault, Lectures at the Collège de France, 1984
Was nice running into you on Sunday, H. Wasn’t it hot? That type of heat, it melts the line between body and air. I heard a scientist interviewed on the radio, he said in 2.5 billion years the sun will be so hot and giant, the earth’s oceans will boil. Can that happen to the inside of us, when the outside is as hot as it was that day? That’s how I know summer is finally here, can feel the air. Inside and outside combine and become a part of the same boiling soup. This is how it felt that day, the outside and inside reverse - warm on the outside of buildings, cold on the inside. Those air conditioners, they make us aware of our skin again.
There was scaffolding installed for repairs on the exterior of the building, so the sidewalk seemed dark. When the scaffolding stays up for years, as it often does, starts to feel like constant night on those parts of the block. I don’t know how long this scaffolding has been there H., but walking underneath it felt like going from day to night, in the middle of the afternoon. They do a good job with the lighting there. Warm and inviting, though serious, without being austere. Or did they have their air conditioning on low?
This is how I knew it was you, not him, you made plains of secondary and tertiary colours. When I think of you, I think of elegant reduction. Maybe elegant is the wrong word. You are anarchic. Although, can an anarchist be elegant? You are. How do you do that?
There was a long, vertical window, and as I walked up to it from the dark sidewalk, there was your grid. On another day a different radio programme said that the noise insects make are indistinguishable from the noise of experimental sound compositions. Philip Glass prefers to call this music with repetitive structures instead of minimalism. Are there stripes and circles on insects? Where do the colors combine to make the colours in nature? According to Walt Disney, Oskar Fischinger orchestrates these experiments from above. Are your circles a reduction of the mechanical, the synthetic? Or a collection of the natural?
There are three primary colours: blue, red, and yellow. All other colours derive from these first three, and they can be divided into secondary – green, orange, purple, and tertiary – yellow-orange, red-orange, red-purple, blue-purple, blue-green, and yellow-green. This means that secondary and tertiary colours have an unequal relationship with primary colours. Second- and third-tier colours rely on blue, red, and yellow, but blue, red, and yellow can take or leave what they produce. Does this make the first three primary colours the natural, the organic? If this is the case, then their offspring, secondary and tertiary colours, are derivations from the real, and necessarily, synthetic.
What would a world made solely of blue, red, and yellow look like?
Supposedly, when we see a colour, we see every other colour but the one we are looking at. If so, when I saw your light blue (blue + green) painting, I saw every other colour but light blue. The positive is actually the negative, and you define a colour by everything it is not.
H., do you think that painting a colour is a form of description? The centre, the colour our eyes see, is actually a hole. In which case all the other colours exist in order to describe what isn’t perceptible; so maybe our eyes see just the imprint?
The paintings in your grid on the walls of that well-lit room were each combinations of primary colours. Except for yellow, your yellow. I know you are he because of that yellow. But everything else is a collection of other colours. The blues are shades lighter than primary blue. I’ve never seen you use purple before, nor Easter-egg blue. You did there. In trying to identify the light pink (or toned down peach?) you used for one painting – positioned next to grey, yellow, and very light, almost aqua-blue – I googled “Chantilly pink.” The results were another grid, a collection of pictures of perfume, a Pink Floyd concert poster from 1994, handbags, lingerie, textile patters, and only one image that came close to the colour you used, a lily photographed by a gardener in 1986. So this colour happened naturally? Or was the flower also fabricated…genetically engineered to be the shade it is.
[to feel a crescendo here,]
Your, well, I mean, his colours provide room to breathe. I found myself in the middle of a smooth colour chart. He flattened hierarchy through repetition. He continues this project by bringing the background to the foreground. He makes the secondary and the tertiary the primary. Radical colour. Did he need to become you? Would he ever paint Chantilly pink? Or purple? Would he paint it, and then deny ever having done so? Or are you he because you painted every other colour but what I saw that day?
[then back down.]
On another hot, really hot, morning, the sky cracked; a few minutes later it split open, and the water released wasn’t at all as refreshing as I’d hoped it would be. Instead of relieving the heat, it added to it. About an hour after that, I walked through the rain and saw a big mouse, or a small rat, in a panic as it tried to escape the streams of water flooding the sidewalk. Wiggling between the bottom of a shop gate and the edge of the sidewalk, and thoroughly soaked, it looked like a dark sponge with a long tale. Was hard to tell where its body ended and the outside—all that water—began. I once read that wherever there are rats, there are humans. It didn’t say anything about there always being humans where there are rats.
Does the deep orange you painted rely on red and yellow? We looked out of the airplane window and saw at the sky’s seam an orange like yours, in combination with your pink.
H., how do you start a repetition? Does it have a beginning, a middle, and an end? Or are you always somewhere in the middle? No inside, no outside, no nouns. One-after-another-after-that.
Excerpted from the compendium In the style of, consisting of four short stories around the notion of a parasite.
by Mary Rinebold
Design by Hyo Kwon
Edition of 100