colour as nutrient (pink like raw flesh)

By a strange co-incidence, just after writing about the See! Colour! exhibition in Järna this year, I received a google alert for a link about German artist Jürgen Kadow:

The main focus of Juergen Kadows work is experimenting with colour. Already during his education at the university, he was very much interested in the chromatics by Goethe and Rudolf Steiner. [. . .] Juergen Kadow describes his work as follows: “I dont want to disclose secrets, but create new ones”. His paintings convey an atmosphere of mystic silence and are very impressive because of their gracefulness and aesthetic.

According to Kadow’s website, he’s worked with the colour schemes in a new building for anthroposophical cosmetics company Weleda. Apparently (pdf):

Das Blau des Bürogebäudes steht für die denkerische Tätigkeit. Die Fenster als prägnantestes architektonisches Element sind passend dazu streng übereinander angeordnet. Das Rot des pharmazeutischen Bereichs steht für die Umwandlungs- und Wärmeprozesse der Produktion. Hier sind Fenstergrößen und -anordnung in Bewegung gekommen. Das Orange des Logistikgebäudes ist noch nahe am Rot, löst sich aber schon davon. Im naturfarbenen Mittelbau wird der Mensch empfangen. Das transparent lasierte Holz ist ebenso nahbar wie der eingeschossige, durch Glas geöffnete Baukörper.

[. . .]

»Eine spannungsreiche Komposition darf durchaus auch einmal disharmonisch sein«, erklärt der Farbexperte. »Dann regenerieren Menschen durch das Farberleben. Sie bekommen Farbe als Nahrung.«

See his bio too. The paintings are very pink, very glittery. In light of the quote above, they make me think of raw flesh. In the Weleda calendar 2008 — which contains his paintings — there’s a short piece in English.

Colour is at the very centre of Jürgen Kadow‘s work. He has been exploring Goethe’s and Steiner’s theories of colour ever since his formative years. [. . .] How do the forces of light act externally on Nature to bring about metamorphosis, how do they manifest themselves in people as qualities of the soul? He finds an answer in colour, in the way it becomes visible through light and darkness, in its mediatorial role.

Well, read for yourselves, it’s full of fluffy words and twelve paintings (pdf).

18 thoughts on “colour as nutrient (pink like raw flesh)

  1. Zooey,

    Your reference to raw flesh is close. But now consider the skin color of that raw flesh as you read about the Steiner Color Theory cycle of Green to Peach Blossom to White to Black to Green again. Check out this lecture given, hey! on his Scandinavian tour in 1923!

    The Arts and their Mission, Lecture 8
    May 20, 1923, Christiania (Oslo), GA 276
    http://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/ArtsMission/19230520p01.html

    If we take the flesh color of Caucasian man, which resembles spring’s fresh peach-blossom color, we have the living image of the soul. If we contemplate white in an artistic way, we have the soul image of the spirit. (The spirit as such conceals itself.) And if, as artists, we take hold of black, we have the spiritual image of death. And the circle is closed.

  2. ‘The matter is quite different with red, yellow and blue. Considering these colors with unbiased artistic feeling, we feel no urge to see them with well-defined contours on the plane, only to let them radiate. Red shines toward us, the dimness of blue has a tranquil effect, the brilliance of yellow sparkles outward. Thus we may call flesh color, green, black and white the image or shadow colors, whereas blue, yellow and red are radiance or lustre colors. To put it another way: In the radiance, lustre and activity of red we behold the element of the vital, the living; we may call it the lustre of life. If the spirit does not wish merely to reveal itself in abstract uniformity as white, but to speak to us with such inward intensity that our soul can receive it, then it sparkles in yellow; yellow is the radiance or lustre of the spirit. If the soul wishes to experience itself inwardly and deeply, withdrawing from external phenomena and resting within itself, this may be expressed artistically in the mild shining of blue, the lustre of the soul. To repeat: red is the lustre of life, blue the lustre of the soul, yellow the lustre of the spirit.’

    And which colours are waldorf children allowed to use when painting the water colour blobs? Red, blue and yellow.

  3. And which colours are waldorf children allowed to use when painting the water colour blobs? Red, blue and yellow.

    Now Alicia, I hope you are not insinuating here that anthroposophy is being taught to the Waldorf children directly. Remember anthroposophy is not the curriculum; it merely informs the curriculum.

    And on that note, we need to look at the German here to distinguish the above “image colors” from the so-called “lustre colors.”

    In the tetrad of white-black-green-Caucasian flesh colors they are called Bildfarben (Image colors) or also Schattenfarben (shadow colors). But the red, blue and yellow are called Glanzfarben which is rendered as “lustre colors,” but that English is not quite right. Glanz can mean “sheen, radiance, glitz, glitter, gloss, brilliance” etc.

    And informing the curriculum further,
    Red is the Glanz of Life — Etheric Body
    Blue is the Glanz of Soul — Astral Body
    Yellow the Glanz of Spirit — Ego

  4. ‘Now Alicia, I hope you are not insinuating here that anthroposophy is being taught to the Waldorf children directly. Remember anthroposophy is not the curriculum; it merely informs the curriculum. ‘

    Indeed. That’s why we were never taught to paint water colour blobs only in red, blue and yellow. We were just not given any other colours to paint with.

    As soon as you brought yellow and blue together on the same paper, with water and stuff, the less skilled students (like myself) ended up with nothing but lots of strange coloured green, a green which always seemded so impure and indefinable. I wonder about the spiritual implications…

  5. “That’s why we were never taught to paint water colour blobs only in red, blue and yellow. We were just not given any other colours to paint with.”

    LOL!!!! You have just explained Waldorf education to the uninitiated … seriously, that sums it up. Hell no we aren’t “teaching” anthroposophy … who, us?

  6. I must add, however, that I really like those paintings.

    Maybe anthroposophical art has received new “impulses.” That stuff is cool.

  7. I must add, however, that I really like those paintings … despite the fact that they are “rosy crosses.” They’re really cool.

  8. Diana —

    ‘LOL!!!! You have just explained Waldorf education to the uninitiated … seriously, that sums it up. Hell no we aren’t “teaching” anthroposophy … who, us?’

    Haha! and thanks. And, yes indeed, I think this happened with a lot of things. They never gave any reasons for or explained why there were only a few colours or why we were only painting water blob paintings. But there were no options.

    ‘I must add, however, that I really like those paintings.

    Maybe anthroposophical art has received new “impulses.” That stuff is cool.’

    Yes, it’s not bad. I don’t think I’d hang it on my wall at home (too pink, too much gold, too fluffy…), but it’s alright, quite nice stuff. I quite liked the Weleda 2008 calendar, perhaps more than the rose and gold paintings (the Weleda paintings might have been more anthroposophicl in style, but not over the top). All of it is much better than some, or most, of the ‘traditional’ anthroposophical art.

  9. Hi, I have found this blog on google…thanks for your comments…You should try to hang a painting on your wall at home…it is a difference between a photo and original…Next year (spring 2012) I will have a participation for the big GOLD-Exhibition in the museum BELVEDERE in Vienna. There are the famous artists worldwide from middle-age to now (i.e. C.D. Friedrich, Gustav Klimt, Joseph Beuys, Andy Warhol etc.) You will find one painting with gold made by me….Greetings Juergen Kadow

  10. Alicia, where did you find that extract re: red, yellow and blue?

    ‘If the soul wishes to experience itself inwardly and deeply, withdrawing from external phenomena and resting within itself, this may be expressed artistically in the mild shining of blue, the lustre of the soul’

    This has struck a chord. My eldest has profound autism and pinched my glass paints to paint the light bulb in his room… blue… I am told that in the sensory room at his school he replaces the gels on the stage lamps to shine different shades of blue too.

    Of course, this is as likely down to preference as anything else. I myself would deem blue a ‘calming’ colour, I don’t think that my son is conciously ‘withdrawing from external phenomena,’ to heal (supposing it needs ‘healing’) his ‘astral’ or whatnot but would be really interested to read a bit more, if you could track down the name of the source that would be great! Interesting in double force, I suppose, that he is hypersensitive, seemingly bombarded by external sensory overload (weekly trip to tescos is a joy!) and that blue, is said here to relate to withdrawing from that?

    Thanks, Pip

  11. Jürgen — it’s perhaps what I should have on my walls if I could afford more walls ;-)

    Pip — here:
    http://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/ArtsMission/19230520p01.html

    That’s interesting, about your child. He must find something very special in the colour blue. I agree with you that it’s calming (I think that’s also the line of popular colour psychology, isn’t it?), as opposed to, eg, red, but it’s also a rather cold colour, again as opposed to red. Green is also calming, but not as cold. Blue is more detached, somehow. Perhaps even a bit inwardly, as Steiner suggests ;-)

    Have you read anything about anthroposophical colour therapy and such stuff? I think Steiner, or someone else after him, had the idea of constructing rooms filled with one colour. Maybe your son would like a blue room! Perhaps unrealistic, but a blue cupbourd/wardrobe to withdraw too, or a blue tent…!

  12. Don’t know a thing about anthroposophical art/colour therapy, or mainstream art/colour therapy for that matter! I guess I’m unconciously aware of how colour affects mood, likes and dislikes, etc but never really thought that much more of it. I suppose I’ve always seen art and colour as ultimately subjective…although thinking about it, I doubt many would say that red made them feel cold or conversely blue, hot.

    I think blue is strangely inward, interesting as Kyle is by nature pretty inward himself; seemingly bound in his own routines. His room is cream…maybe the easter bunny (Granma) can bring him some blue paint! That said, I rather like the idea of him being able to turn off the blue if he wants to…can’t really articulate why but feel an always blue room might be a bit much. A blue tent in the garden would be great :)

    His school has a sensory room that, among other things, is capable of being all one colour. It’s got a flashing dancefloor, bubble tubes and stuff but for him it’s the blue lights that appeal! I’ll add this steiner/non-steiner colour stuff to the ever growing list of stuff to read!

    Thanks Alicia!

  13. It’s one of these times when I would say it’s definitely quite all right to get inspiration from whatever source will provide it. I suddenly thought of another thing — these play silks so prevalent in waldorf kindergartens and waldorf stores. Like these:
    http://www.bellalunatoys.com/playsilks.html

    Perhaps these are a size too small, but it should be possible to get sufficiently large ones.

    With a few of silks of the blue variety, he could build his own makeshift tents indoors! Drape them over chairs or over his bed or over a table, or anywhere really. And they’re transparent enough to let through light, yet very blue!

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