« From motion to emotion : The color-light event and the experience of the interval »

Conférence au colloque international Interaction of Colour & Light in the Arts & Sciences de l’Association Internationale de la Couleur (AIC). 7-10 juin 2011, Zurich, Suisse.

Charlotte BEAUFORT. PhD candidate (Art and Æsthetics) at the University of Pau et les Pays de l’Adour.


I will deal with the interaction of color and light in contemporary artistic practices both as a researcher and as an artist. Based on my own installations, I will reflect upon the relationship between color-light and the movement of perception in our sensorial experience of color. For various reasons, artists in all times have been interested in the power of color, whether it be the power of color in itself or as a reflection of light ; they have also been fascinated by its mobile and ephemeral dimension ; I will try and demonstrate how the contemporary manipulation of colored light prolongs this artistic tradition. In particular, I will deal with the question of monochromatic color and of the interaction of colors in painting as compared with the contemporary use of colored light. After a few examples of artists who use moving light, I will show how my own installations try to avoid both immobile and rapidly moving light in order to focus on intervalenhancing slowness as a factor of the emergence of color.

The first part, entitled « From pigment to light », will describe the specific breakthroughs of color-light as opposed to pigment, and will use the works of artists and art critics of the 1950s and 1960s, such as the Light and Space artists and Clement Greenberg.

Part two, « Allover, color field and Ganzfeld : towards a colored space », will then take into consideration the question of pictorial format with painters such as Pollock and Rothko painting ever larger canvases that engulf the beholder’s total perceptual field.

Part three, « From fixed color to color variation », will be about light works that include temporal evolutions and rhythmic structures—such as Ann Veronica Janssens Donut, for example. It will be based on texts by Josef Albers, Bridget Riley, John Gage, and Edwin Herbert Land.

Part four, entitled « The flow and the interval ; or the experience of the advent of color » will allow me to present my theory and practice about the experience of color as interval. Based on texts by Rothko and Matisse and on a description of two recent installations of mine, this part will show how I use duration and slowness in order to provoke sensorial and emotional experiences in relation with the color-light event.

Book of abstracts.