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The attempt to free colour from its boundaries

To the works by Lucia Koch in Künstlerhaus Stuttgart

Ruby Sircar

The works of the artist living and working in São Paulo, Lucia Koch, developed for the project “Entre Pindorama” in Künstlerhaus Stuttgart, at the first glance break the architectural (exhibit) boundaries, and at the second glance also the boundaries of the Künstlerhaus as an institution. They frame the Haus anew through a play of chromatic light, as well as exterior and interior effects – filtered through just this colourfulness. The play of colours and the airy building of light, which emerges in the Haus, the architecture and the institution, devour the Haus. Already at the entrance, one is embraced by Koch’s intensive world of color: she has covered the windows to the stairway, the communicative spinal cord of the Haus, with coloured, light-filtering foil. Each of the four floors is indulged with a different colour, which guides the person entering from a sumptuous green, in which one appears to drown, through golden-yellow with a hint of orange to a cold magenta which overwhelmes. Shortly before entering the exhibit, one is misguided by the temporary and seemingly solidified sky of São Paulo. It is represented as a greatly enlarged gradient in a coarse-grained image printed on an airy, semi-transparent canvas. The real exhibit space unfolds behind this gray-to-blue surface. This space can initially only be perceived through this non- transparent filter, and with a step ahead, passing beside it into the exhibition room, the space unfolds unfiltered, in order to become the metaphoric discourse space of the project.

The fields of colour, on the one hand purposely saturated with the ready-made and deeply engrained european or western clichés about Brazil. Does the West not expect screaming, living, shining colour? After all, this country belongs to the world of the hot street sweeper rhythms, the eternally parrot- decked palm trees, gold-silver beaches and sunny moonlight. On the one hand, the game with the imagined Brazilian culture shows the visitor nothing more than another view through yet another filter onto the already known. Lucia Koch plays with the expectations of a western audience, playfully conveying new possible patterns, which do not orient themselves by the memory grid of the western public, but rather disturb and interrupt it, and piece the puzzle together anew. The audience puts on a miraculous pair of glasses: an aide for seeing that will let new images settle in and later work as unconscious filters, shining in all possible colours. These filters were placed over the public’s mental optic nerve by the artist. The visitors were absorbed by Koch’s colours.

Koch’s work does not necessarily follow a praxis of anthropofagia primarily, but rather breaks and rethinks it is a very sophisticated manner. She places the observer in the position of the anthropofag, the devourer, a position which is not easy or understandable for a person moulded by western/european ways. In addition, he not only aproaches another culture, peacefully swallowing it, but is also confronted with his expectations. The viewer is gently manipulated, his memory is reformatted. The contents of anthropofagia are branded unconsciously and subconsciously, fixated, affecting the world of images and previous frames of those confronted with them. Primary and secondary colours and contrasts are poured together and dissolve in a sky of gray, undefinable liquid power positions. Platforms and margins were cancelled – the colour has digested itself.