Blue
–
a
Shifting
Horizon

 Virginia
MacKenny
 
 ‘Blue,
darkly,
deeply,
beautifully
blue1’
Robert
Southey
(1774‐1843)
Poet
Laureate
 
 
 
 



 
 Blue
planet,
bluetooth,
Big
Blue,
blue
sky
thinking,
blue
screen,
blue
movies
…
 the
list
is
long
so
long
that
when
Annie
Mollard‐Desfour,
a
linguist
with
the
 French
national
research
agency
and
president
of
the
French
Centre
of
Colour
in
 Paris
produced
a
Dictionnaire
des
Mots
et
Expressions
de
Couleur
(Dictionary
of
 Words
and
Expressions
of
Colour)
the
first
volume
was
Le
Bleu
(Blue)
(1998).
 Reinforcing
the
importance
of
the
colour
a
recent
edition
of
New
Scientist
(Sept
 2009),
dedicated
to
the
origins
of
things,
included
blue
–
not
once,
but
twice.
No
 mention
of
any
other
colour
occurs
in
the
issue.
On
Wikipedia’s
page
on
pigment
 (all
pigments)
blue
is
the
colour
they
choose
to
represent
on
the
page.
 
 
 
 
























































1
From
Robert
Southey’s
epic
poem
Madoc
in
Wales.
Part
i.
5



 This
paper
explores
the
continuing
 fascination
that
artists
have
with
the
 colour
Blue.
Initially
one
of
the
most
 expensive
colours
to
produce
 (ultramarine
blue
was
ground
from
 pure
lapis
lazuli2
mined
in
the
 Badakshan
region
of
Afghanistan3
and
 once
cost
even
more
than
its
weight
in
 gold4)
it
only
adorned
areas
of
great
 symbolic
importance
such
as
the
 Virgin’s
cloak
and
Tutankhamun’s
death
 mask.
Yet
with
the
invention
of
 synthetic
equivalents
in
the
nineteenth
 century
and
the
subsequent
drop
in
 costs
of
production5
it
has
not
lost
its
 allure.

 
 























































 2
Lapis
lazuli
literally
‘blue
stone’.


3
Lapis
lazuli
is
a
rare
mineral.
Long
only
found
in
the
Badakshan
region
of
Afghanistan
mines


were
later
also
established
in
Chile
and
more
recently
smaller
deposits
have
been
found
in
 Burma,
Colorado
and
Siberia.

Given
that
the
colour
was
originally
imported
to
Europe
it
was
 termed,
in
the
Latin,
Azurrum
Ultramarinum
or,
in
the
Italian,
ultramarino
azzuro,
meaning
'blue
 from
beyond
the
sea'.

 4
Sometimes
known
as
‘blue
gold’
lapis
lazuli
was
expensive
was
not
only
due
to
its
semi‐precious
 mineral
status
and
the
mining
and
importation
costs,
but
also
to
its
labour‐intensive
 manufacture.
Most
pigments
are
ground,
but
if
you
simply
grind
lapis
lazuli
it
loses
colour
 becoming
grey
because
of
the
impurities
it
contains.
Methods
of
maintaining
a
strong
blue
were
 described
in
the
East
in
the
9th
century,
but
were
only
refined
in
the
west
in
the
12th
century.
To
 clear
the
impurities
the
ground
lapis
lazuli
needed
to
be
mixed
with
melted
wax,
resins
and
oils,
 wrapped
in
a
cloth,
then
kneaded
under
a
solution
of
lye:
the
fine
particles
of
ultramarine
were
 then
collected
in
a
holding
vessel
while
the
retained
residue
held
ash
and
colourless
crystals.
 Cennino
Cennini
gives
a
detailed
description
of
the
time
consuming
process
(Ball
2003:
237‐38).
 Today
the
cheapest
lapis
lazuli
that
I
could
source
on
the
internet
was
a
100gm
sampler
bottle
of
 lapis
lazuli
blue
pigment
on
special
costing
$
87.29
(normal
sale
price
of
$126).
At
the
current
 rate
of
exchange
(21.3.2010)
the
sale
price
is
€
64.53
or
637.21
ZAR.
A
20ml
tube
of
Rublev
 Natural
Pigments
Lazurite
is
$29.50
(€21.80
or
215.35
ZAR).
The
Winsor
and
Newton
synthetic
 Ultramarine
equivalent
in
their
top
Artists
Oil
Colour
range
list
price
in
the
37ml
tube
is

£8.95
 (€9.9
or
98.13
ZAR)
ie
about
a
quarter
of
the
price.
 5
In
1824
a
competition
was
launched
by
the
French
Society
for
the
Encouragement
of
National
 Industry
to
stimulate
the
discovery
of
an
economically
viable,
synthethic
equivalent
to
real
 ultramarine.
A
prize
of
six
thousand
French
francs
was
to
be
awarded
to
anyone
who
could
make
 an
alternative
for
300
francs
a
pound
(the
going
price
at
the
time
for
real
ultramarine
was
 between
two
to
three
thousand
francs
per
pound
–
a
price
that
later
went
up
to
four
thousand
 francs
per
pound).
Goethe
had
first
noted
a
clue
as
to
how
this
substance
might
be
produced
in
 1787.
He
described
how
glassy
masses
of
a
blue
material
found
at
the
mouth
of
limekilns
near
 Palermo
were
used
locally
as
an
ornamental
substitute
for
lapis
(Ball
2001:
245).
Forty
years
 later,
after
observing
a
similar
residue
at
the
mouth
of
glass
furnaces,
Frenchman
Jean‐Baptiste
 Guimet
made
a
synthetic
ultramarine
by
heating
coal,
sulphur,
soda
and
china
clay.
His
 components
were
all
cheap
commonplace
substances
and
his
colour
cost
400
francs
a
pound.
 Despite
his
discovery
being
contested
by
the
German
Christian
Gmelin
(Ball
2001:
245)
he
was
 awarded
the
prize
in
1828
and
the
name
of
the
colour
remains
to
this
day
French
Ultramarine.



Its
continuing
importance
in
the
work
of
 artists
in
the
last
fifty
years
or
so
is
attested
to
 by
Yves
Klein6’s
invention
of
International
 Klein
Blue7
in
19578.
Known
as
IKB
the
colour
 is
comprised
mainly
of
an
ultramarine
 pigment
suspended
in
a
clear
synthetic
resin
 thereby
closely
approximating
the
look
of
the
 colour
in
its
powder
form.
The
importance
of
 IKB
is
thus
not
that
it
is
a
new
colour,
because
 it
is
chemically
the
same
as
ultramarine,
but
 that
its
form
ensures
maximum
chromatic
 intensity.

That
the
colour
is
particularly
intense
is
corroborated
by
a
note
on
 Wikipedia
that
states
that
IKB
is
outside
the
gamut
of
computer
displays
and
can
 therefore
not
be
accurately
portrayed
on
the
web9.

 The
difficulty
of
re‐presenting
the
colour
is
integral
to
Klein’s
intention
to
utilise
 it
as
a
vehicle
to
convey
immateriality
and
space.
In
1947
he
began
a
series
of
 monochromes
that
used
the
colour
blue
exclusively10.
He
described
the
work
as
 embodying
‘blue
in
itself,
disengaged
from
all
functional
justification’11
and
 likened
his
monochrome
painting
to
an
"open
window
to
freedom"12
.
This
open
 space
that
Klein
perceived
in
blue
was
one
that
he
equated
with
the
void,
a
 theme
that
he
explores
in
a
number
of
incarnations,
the
most
famous
of
which



























































6

Yves
Klein
(1928‐1962)
often
described
as
a
French
conceptual
artist.


In 1955 Klein started worked with a Parisian chemical manufacturer retailer of artists’ materials named Edouard Adam exploring
the
uses
of
a
new
synthetic
fixative
resin
called
Rhodopas
M60A.
 This
could
be
thinned
to
act
as
a
binder
without
impairing
the
chromatic
strength
of
the
pigment
 and
gave
the
paint
surface
a
matt,
velvety
texture.
(Ball
2001:
15).
Klein
registered
IKB
in
1960
at
 the
Institut
National
de
la
Propriété
industrielle
[National
Institute
of
Industrial
Property],
in
the
 form
of
an
“enveloppe
Soleau”
(a
simpler
and
less
onerous
procedure
than
a
patent
application)
 (http://www.centrepompidou.fr/education/ressources/ENS‐klein‐EN/ENS‐klein‐EN.htm#bleu).
 8
Interestingly
another
French
artist,
Jacques
Majorelle
(1886-1962).,
also
invented
and
 trademarked
a
blue
at
this
time
–
Majorelle
Blue,
a
colour
derived
from
the
blue
used
by
the
 Berbers
in
Morocco
–
see
further
information
in
footnote
17.
 9
This
information
on
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Klein_Blue
includes
an
image
 of
the
colour
ultramarine
for
a
visual
reference
to
IKB,
describing
it
as
a
“fair
impression”
or
 approximation
of
the
colour.
Interestingly
there
is
a
web
site
entirely
dedicated
to
the
colour
 http://www.international‐klein‐blue.com/.
This
site
presents
a
plain
blue
screen
page
with
 nothing
else
on
it
to
represent
the
colour.
The
site’s
existence
and
its
creation
would
seem
to
 indicate
that
some
seem
to
think
the
colour
can
be
reproduced
through
this
method.
However
in
 this
writer’s
opinion,
having
seen
IKB
in
the
real
it
does
not
seem
an
accurate
representation
and
 appears
as
greener
than
ultramarine.
For
those
interested,
according
to
wikipedia,
the
colour
co‐ ordinates
for
International
Klein
Blue
are:
Hex
triplet
#002FA7
RGBB
(r,
g,
b)
(0,
47,
167)
HSV
(h,
 s,
v)
(223°,
100%,
65%)
B:
Normalized
to
[0–255].
 10 His two other colour interests that developed
later
were
gold
and
a
high‐pitched
cerise
pink.
As
 he
confided
to
Pierre
Restany
during
an
interview
in
April
1961,
“Fire
is
blue,
gold
and
pink,
too.
 They
are
the
three
basic
colours
in
monochrome
painting
and,
for
me,
it
is
a
universal
 explanatory
principle
of
the
world”
http://www.centrepompidou.fr/education/ressources/ENS‐ klein‐EN/ENS‐klein‐EN.htm#bleu
 11
http://www.tate.org.uk/servlet/ViewWork?workid=8143
 12
http://www.moma.org/collection/browse_results.php?object_id=80103


7

was
his
Saut
Dans
Le
Vide
[Leap
into
the
Void]
 (1960)
which
is
represented
by
a
modified
 photograph
of
Klein
flinging
himself
off
a
 wall13.

 
 
 A
less
spectacular
offering
earlier
in
1958
 was
a
work
with
a
somewhat
longwinded
title
 The
Specialisation
Of
Sensibility
In
The
Raw
 Material
State
Into
Stabilised
Pictorial
 Sensibility14
that
Klein
exhibited
at
the
Galerie
Iris
Clert
in
Paris.
Here
Klein
 exhibited
the
gallery
space
itself,
as
empty,
but
‘impregnated15’
with
blue.
This
he
 achieved
by
painting
parts
of
the
gallery
exterior
in
blue
and
tinting
the
display
 window
blue.
He
supplemented
this
with
blue
invitations,
a
blue
curtain
on
entry
 and
cocktails
tinted
with
methylene
blue
on
opening
night
16.

 While
Klein
strongly
associated
the
colour
with
white
and
light
Anish
Kapoor,
 known
for
his
sculptural
forms
coated
in
pure
pigment,
associates
the
colour
 with
an
absence
of
light.
Observing
in
a
discussion
with
curator
Marcello
Dantas,
 that
he
has
“made
lot
of
work
with
black
and
blue”
he
notes
that
his
emphasis
in
 this
regard
is
particularly
on
blue,
“because
blue
is
a
colour
that
much
more
 deeply
reveals
darkness
than
 does
black”
(Kapoor
2006‐7).

 However
while
Kapoor
 approaches
blue
from
the
other
 end
of
the
scale
as
it
were
from
 Klein,
like
Klein,
he
is
also
 interested
in
the
immaterial.
In
 the
same
interview
he
notes
that
 the “history
of
sculpture
is
the
 history
of
material,
from
bone,
to
 stone,
to
bronze
[but]
I
am
 interested
in
that
part
of
 material,
which
is
not
material
 because
it
seems
to
me
that
 equivalent
with
every
history
of
 material,
there
is
a
history
of
 immaterial”
(Kapoor
2006‐7).
 

Kapoor
In
Search
of
the
Mountain
(1984)




























































13
While
the
photograph
is
manipulated
Klein
did
indeed
jump,
but
into
a
stretched
tarpaulin


which
has
been
removed
from
the
photograph.
The
image
was
presented
in
a
fake
issue
of
the
 “Journal
du
Dimanche”
dedicated
to
his
exploration
of
the
void,
on
27
November
1960.

 14
La
spécialisation
de
la
sensibilité
à
l’état
matière
première
en
sensibilité
picturale
stabilisée
1958
 15
Klein
utilised
the
term
‘impregnation’
to
indicate
an
operation
that
confers
an
artistic
quality
to
 matter.
 16 http://www.centrepompidou.fr/education/ressources/ENS‐klein‐EN/ENS‐klein‐EN.htm#bleu


Illustrating
his
concerns
Kapoor
relates
the
Christian
story
of
St
Thomas’s
need
 to
touch
Christ’s
wound
after
he
arises
from
the
dead
to
affirm
what
he
sees.
 Christ’s
response
to
Mary
Magdalene
when
she
reaches
out
to
him
on
seeing
him
 after
the
resurrection
is
“Noli
me
tangere”
(do
not
touch
me)17,
another
moment
 which
reveals
for
Kapoor,
that
“much
of
dealing
with
the
non‐material
is
about
 this
confusion
between
the
hand
and
the
eye,
…
when
the
thing
that
you
look
at
 is
uncertain,
your
body
demands
a
kind
of
readjustment,
it
demands
certainty”.
 For
Kapoor
blue
can
assist
in
generating
an
equivalent
for
this
sensation,
 creating
a
necessary
uncertainty
for,
“from
a
phenomenological
point
of
view,
 your
eyes
can't
quite
focus
on
blue”
(Kapoor
2006‐7).


Caravaggio
Doubting
Thomas
(1602‐03)
 
 


Fra
Angelico
Noli
Me
Tangere
(1440‐1)














































Kapoor
Blue
Blood
Solid
(2006)



 Blue’s
ability
to
produce
a
sensation
of
spatial
dimension
and
hence
a
sense
of
 the
ungraspable
is
possibly
what
encouraged
Thai
artist
Sakarin
Krue‐On
to
 choose
blue
as
the
only
colour
for
one
of
his
works
on
Documenta
12,
2007.

 Better
known
for
his
construction
of
a
series
of
rice
terraces
outside
the
Schloss
 Wilhelmshöhe
in
Kassel
Krue‐On
also
contributed
Nang
Fa
(Angels),
a
smaller,
 more
discrete
work
that
ran
floor
to
ceiling
in
one
of
the
stairwells
up
onto
a
 landing
space
in
the
Neue
Galerie.
Coating
the
walls
in
blue
paint
he
lightly
 
























































17
This
is
an
incident
often
represented
in
Christian
painting.
Some
of
the
more
famous
renditions


include
Giotto’s
fresco
Noli
me
Tangere
(1305)
in
the
Arena
Chapel,
Padua;
Fra
Angelico’s
in
Cell
 1,
Convent
of
San
Marco,
Florence
(1440‐1)
and
Titian’s
oil
painting
of
the
same
subject
of
1511‐ 12.


decorated
its
surface
with
images
stippled
in
white
clay
powder.
As
Klein
had
 done
he
also
tinted
the
glass
of
the
windows
on
the
landing
thus
colouring
the
 light
in
the
space
blue.
Blue
is
associated
in
Buddhist
symbology
with
healing
 and
the
Medicine
Buddha,
but
it
also
points
to
the
limitless
and
freedom
from
 earthly
constraint
and
desire.



Sakarin
Krue
Nang
Fa
(Angels)
(2007)


While
in
the
aforementioned
work
such
a
freedom
is
seen
as
purely
spiritual
the
 political
and
ideological
vocabulary
of
freedom
is
present
in
Speaker’s
Corner
 (2009)
a
work
by
Moroccan
artist18
Latifa
Echakhch.
Like
Klein,
Echakhch
uses
 blue
(and
white)
as
the
exclusive
colour/s
in
this
work
with
its
two
component
 installations
For
Each
Stencil
a
Revolution
(2007)
and
Fantasia
(2008).

 While
Fantasia
comprises
a
white
room
with
empty
flagpoles
projecting
from
the
 walls
and
a
cardboard
box
in
the
middle
of
the
room
reminiscent
of
those
a
 speaker
at
Hyde
Park
corner
might
stand
upon,
in
For
Each
Stencil
a
Revolution
 the
room
is
dominated
by
blue.
The
walls
are
covered
in
A4
sheets
of
carbon
 paper
soaked
with
methylated
alcohol
that
releases
the
colour
from
the
paper.
 Echakhch
allows
it
to
run
down
 the
walls
and
onto
the
ground
 where
it
lies
in
dark
pools
 surrounded
by
scattered
burnt
 tyres.
Evoking
the
aftermath
of
 street
riots
and
revolutionary
 protest
this
is
the
wreckage
of
 idealism.

 



























































covered
in
a
vibrant
blue
called
"Majorelle
Blue."

French
artist
Jacques
Majorelle
(1886‐1962)
 invented
and
trademarked
the
colour,
drawing
his
inspiration
from
Berber
burnouses,
Moroccan
 tiles
and
kasbahs.
In
1924
he
constructed
the
Majorelle
garden
in
Marrakech,
painting
the
garden
 walls,
fountains
and
his
house
in
it.
After
Marjorelle’s
death
in
the
early
sixties
the
house
and
 garden
fell
into
disrepair.
Recently
designer Yves Saint Laurent and partner Pierre Berge restored them both and the property is now open to the public. The "Majorelle Blue" paint is sold the property’s gift shop and in hardware stores in Morocco. 

18
Throughout
Marrakesh
and
other
southern
Moroccan
cities
many
walls
and
artefacts
are

















































Latifa
Echakch
For
Each
Stencil
a
Revolution
(2007)


The
darker
side
of
blue
is
also
apparent
in
another
modification
of
a
space
with
 the
colour
blue
taken
by
one
of
the
shortlisted
artists
for
Britain’s
Turner
Prize
 2009,
Roger
Hiorns.
Hiorns,
in
his
work
Seizure,
sealed
an
abandoned
and
soon
 to
be
demolished
apartment
near
London’s
Elephant
and
Castle
and
then
soused
 it
with
90,00019
litres
of
copper
sulphate
solution.
Over
a
couple
of
weeks
the
 temperature
of
the
liquid
dropped,
the
flat
was
drained
and
blue
crystals
grew
in
 a
shimmering
surface
over
every
aspect
of
its
interior.
Describing
his
experience
 of
the
work,
Guardian
art
critic
Adrian
Searle
said
“silvery
shards
of
cold
light
 spangle
and
wink
and
beckon.
Every
surface
is
furred
and
infested;
big
blue
 crystals
dangle
like
cubist
bats
from
the
light
fittings”
(Searle
2009).
While
Searle
 found
the
experience
beautiful,
he
also
found
it
unsettling
as
his
use
of
the
word
 “infested”
signals,
and
he
noted
that
few
visitors
stayed
long
in
a
space
that
was
 decidedly
oppressive.



























































19
Reports
differ
on
the
exact
amount
of
copper
sulphate
liquid
pumped
into
the
flat
–
it
varies


between
70
000
‐
90
000
litres.


Roger
Hiorns
Seizure
(2009)
(pumping
copper
sulphate
into
the
apartment)


That
so
many
contemporary
artists
use
blue
as
the
sole
colour
in
a
work
is
 perhaps
noteworthy20
and
that
so
many
use
it
to
modify
a
space,
in
such
a
 manner
that
its
experiential
element
is
magnified,
significant.
 While
not
an
exhibition
or
object
as
such,
Derek
Jarman’s21
twelfth
and
final
 feature
film
Blue
(1993),
used
blue
as
its
only
visual
component.
Released
just
 four
months
before
his
death
of
AIDS‐related
complications
it
was
made
when
he
 was
already
beginning
to
go
blind.
Consisting
of
a
single
79‐minute
continuous
 shot
of
saturated
blue
the
film
is,
in
essence,
a
blue
screen,
but
not
one
for
the
 compositing
of
images.
While
the
film
remains
‘blank’
or
empty,
it
is
not
as
such
a
 backdrop,
but
a
saturated
visual
experience
‘filled’
with
voice‐over
narration
that
 forms
a
testament
to
Jarman’s
life,
AIDS
and
the
colour
blue:
 

























































20
It
is
maybe
rivalled
only
by
the
use
of
red
in
artists
work
–
Kapoor
again
springs
to
mind
and


Mona
Hartoum.
 21
Derek
Jarman
(1942‐1994)
was
an
English
film
director,
stage
designer,
artist,
and
writer.
He
 directed
many
films
that
openly
engage
homosexuality
and
reference
art.
One
of
his
most
well‐ known
films
is
Caravaggio
while
another
The
Last
of
England
re‐interprets
Ford
Madox
Brown’s
 painting
of
the
same
name.


“I
step
into
a
blue
funk.
 The
doctor
in
St.
Bartholomew's
Hospital
thought
he
could
detect
lesions
in
my
 retina
‐
the
pupils
dilated
with
belladonna
‐
the
torch
shone
into
them
with
a
 terrible
blinding
light.
 Look
left
 Look
down
 Look
up
 Look
right
 Blue
flashes
in
my
eyes.
 Blue
Bottle
buzzing
 Lazy
days
 The
sky
blue
butterfly
 Sways
on
the
cornflower
 Lost
in
the
warmth
 Of
the
blue
heat
haze
 Singing
the
blues
 Quiet
and
slowly
 Blue
of
my
heart
 Blue
of
my
dreams
 Slow
blue
love
 Of
delphinium
days22
 
Watching
the
film
becomes
a
demanding
process
as
the
retina
tires
from
 responding
to
the
intensity
of
a
single
concentrated
colour.
Soon
one’s
brain
 creates
pulses
of
blue’s
complementary,
orange,
which
begin
to
flash
and
 interrupt
the
single
colour
field.

Imageless
and
with
nothing
for
the
eye
to
hold
 onto,
the
film
becomes
a
place
of
interior
imaginative
projection
much
as
does
 the
night
sky
where,
since
time
immemorial,
people
have
created
pictures
by
 “joining
the
dots”
as
it
were,
possibly
making
the
sky
the
biggest
canvas
available
 to
us.
The
reflections
on
mortality
that
flood
this
film
return
us,
somewhat
 circuitously,
to
the
start
of
this
paper,
where
blue
is
used
to
colour
the
most
 significant
religious
images.
 The
Virgin
Mary,
whose
blue
mantle
is
frequently
adorned
 with
stars23,
is
also
known
as
the
Queen
of
the
Heavens
 and
Star
of
the
Sea.
She
is
often
depicted
as
standing
on
the
 crescent
moon
and
her
association
with
the
boundless
 spaces
of
the
sky
and
sea
reinforce
her
role
as
 intermediary
in
the
conversation
between
the
material
and
 immaterial.
The
connection
that
blue
has
with
the
sky
is
on
 one
level
clearly
self‐evident.
One
only
has
to
look
up
on
a
 clear
day
or
night
for
our
associative
connection
of
blue
 with
the
sky
to
be
apparent.
Perhaps
more
unexpected
is
 the
fact
that
the
birth
of
the
cyanotype,
a
blue

22
The
entire
script
is
available
at
http://www.slowmotionangel.com/Jarman/films.htm.
The




























































utilisation
of
blue
as
coding
in
homosexual
artwork
is
an
area
that
may
prove
rich
for
 researchers.
Jasper
Johns’s
print
Bent
Blue
(1971)
with
its
focus
on
a
primary
but
elusive
colour
 might
be
another
case
study.
 23
The
Egyptians
called
lapis
lazuli
‘sky
stone’.


photographic
process,
came
“both
literally
and
metaphorically
'out
of
the
 blue'”(Ware
2004:
11)
to
an
astronomer,
Sir
John
Herschel
(1792‐1871),
a
 professional
sky
gazer.







Sir
John
Herschel
and
the
positive
of
his
father’s
telescope
support
in
Slough
1839


Later
acknowledged
as
a
pioneer
of
celestial
photography
Herschel
had,
in
 between
his
explorations
of
the
night
skies,
been
carrying
out
research
on
photo‐ active
chemicals
and
the
wave
theory
of
light.
In
1834
he
travelled
to
the
Cape
to
 map
the
stars
in
the
Southern
hemisphere24.
Whilst
living
in
Cape
Town
he
 worked
with
his
wife,
Margaret,
producing
131
botanical
illustrations
of
Cape
 flora25
using
a
camera
lucida26
to
record
them
accurately.
Deeply
interested
in
 the
development
of
photographic
process
he
continued
experiments
while
here
 and
coined
the
term
‘photography’27
in
1838,
the
year
he
left
South
Africa.
 However
while
he
was
here
photographic
research
carried
on
apace
in
Europe
 and
Louis
Daguerre
successfully
printed
his
first
daguerreotype
in
183728
and
 shortly
thereafter
in
1840
William
Henry
Talbot
patented
the
calotype29.
 Herschel
had
already
discovered
sodium
thiosulphate
solution
could
help
fix
 images,
information
he
shared
with
the
two
inventors,
and
on
his
return
from
 South
Africa
he
continued
to
explore
the
possibilities
of
photography,
recording
 for
posterity
on
a
silver
based
negative
one
of
the
great
optical
instruments
of
his
 time,
his
father’s
huge
40
foot
telescope30
at
Slough
(feb
10
1839).

 
had
already
mapped
the
stars
of
the
northern
 hemisphere.
Herschel
published
his
stargazing
results
in
'Results
of
Astronomical
Observations
 made
1834‐8
at
the
Cape
of
Good
Hope'
(1847).
Amongst
his
observations
during
this
time
was
 the
return
of
the
Comet
Halley.
 25
Collated
by
Brian
Warner
in
a
book
"Flora
Herscheliana"
published
in
1998
by
Brenthurst
 Press,
Johannesburg.
 26
The
camera
lucida
is
an
optical
device
invented
in
1831
that
projects
an
image
of
an
object
 onto
a
plane
surface
allowing
the
artist
to
trace
the
outlines
of
it.

 27
In
1834
a
French‐Brazilian
painter
Antoine
Hercule
Romuald
Florence
(1804–1879),
who
had
 also
developed
a
photographic
process,
referred
to
it
in
French
as
photographie,
four
years
before
 Herschel
coined
the
term
in
English.
 28
Daguerre’s
first
print
of
a
still
life
was
printed
in
1837,
but
the
full
demonstration
of
his
 process
was
only
presented
to
the
public
in
January
1839.
 29
The
calotype,
unlike
the
daguerreotype,
allowed
for
multiple
copies
of
an
image.
 30
It
was
demolished
shortly
after
the
photograph
was
taken
in
1839
after
being
damaged
in
a
 storm.

24
His
father
Sir
William
Herschel
(1738‐1822)



























































As
chemist
and
photographic
historian
Mike
Ware
notes
the
standard
histories
of
 photography
do
not
record
that
any
connection
was
made
at
this
time
between
 the
light‐sensitivity
of
ferric
organic
salts,
and
the
known
chemical
properties
of
 Prussian
blue,
which
had
been
well‐established
as
an
artists'
pigment
for
over
a
 century.
He
points
out
however,
that
there
was
at
least
one
such
'pre‐ photographic'
observation
in
this
respect.
It
was
made
in
1828,
coincidentally
 the
same
year
the
French
chemist
Guimet
discovered
French
Ultramarine.
John
 Mercer
(1791‐1866),
a
“Manchester
colour
chemist
and
calico‐dyer,
…
noted
the
 formation
of
Prussian
blue
on
cotton
by
a
light‐induced
reaction”
(Ware
 2004:23).
Herschel
in
his
turn,
noted
the
action
of
light
on
potassium
 ferricyanide
as
forming
Prussian
blue31
and
by
1842
he
had
invented
the
 cyanotype,
a
photographic
process
that
creates
a
cyan
blue
print.
 That
an
astronomer
should
have
come
across
a
process
for
rendering
the
world
 in
blue
seems
apposite.
The
night
sky,
a
place
of
azure
dreaming,
has
always
 served
humanity
as
site
of
image‐making.
It
is
here
that
we
have
long
made
our
 pictures,
sought
direction
and
found
meaning.
While
the
cyanotype
was
soon
 usurped
by
other
photographic
processes
it
persisted,
however,
as
a
staple
of
the
 architect’s
office
in
the
form
of
a
blueprint.
The
blueprint,
now,
in
its
turn,
 surpassed
by
new
technologies,
has
in
itself,
persisted,
albeit
in
language,
as
 connoting
a
site
of
origins
and
sources.

 Herschel’s
discovery
of
the
cyanotype
arose
because
as
Ware
puts
it
he
had
a
 “preoccupation
with
the
medium
rather
than
the
message”
and
was
“driven
by
a
 desire
to
understand
photochemical
phenomena,
and
to
enlist
them
as
tools
for
 probing
the
electromagnetic
spectrum
outside
the
narrow
optical
limits
imposed
 by
human
vision”
(Ware
2004:11).
The
association
that
blue
has
with
a
world
 beyond
our
sight
persists
in
various
forms.
Kathryn
Smith
utilises
blue
as
 virtually
the
sole
colour
in
her
exhibition
In
Camera
(2007‐09).
On
entering
the
 gallery
the
colour
is
not
at
first,
however,
apparent.
Instead
the
exhibition
seems
 full
only
of
empty
pages.
It
is
not,
ironically,
until
the
lights
go
out
that
the
work
 becomes
fully
visible.
Smith’s
interest
in
the
 forensic,
the
invisible
and
that
which
 generally
goes
unnoticed
fuels
her
 production
of
an
exhibition
with
a
title
that
 references
both
the
photographic
and
the
 private,
inner
workings
of
the
justice
 system32.
Using
ultraviolet‐sensitive
inks
 invisible
to
the
naked
eye,
but
visible
in
 blacklight
Smith
sets
up
inversions
of


 























































 31
On 23 April 1842, Herschel made the following entry in his Memoranda: 'Photography.
Photochromy. Non Argentine, Mineral substances (F3/2CP) Smee's Red Ferrocyanate of Potash washed on paper gives it a fine pale green colour. The spectrum thrown on this paper acts slowly but about as fast as on Guiacum When the paper is thrown onto water the impression becomes stronger, loses its Violet ruddiness & turns to a fine prussian blue. A wash of very dilute acid immediately developed a strong blue impression, having the above character. This paper will prove valuable. Try other metallo-cyanates of Bases.' (Ware 2004:25)
 32
The
latin
in
camera
means
‘in
private’
and
the
term
is
invoked
when
a
judge
hears
sensitive
 evidence
in
her/his
chambers
rather
than
in
open
court.


Kathryn
Smith
In
Camera

(2007‐09)






visibility/invisibility.
Using
images
from
the
media,
mug
shots
of
both
 perpetrators
and
victims,
maps
of
crime
sites
and
photographic
evidence
she
 disconcerts
our
expectations
of
sight,
upsetting
notions
of
clarity
and
truth.
 Smith’s
sense
of
creating
an
“experiential
space
rather
than
a
gallery
of
works”
 (Gray
2009)
sets
the
viewer
adrift
in
a
sea
of
light
and
dark
where
the
 construction
of
meaning
is
elusive.
 For
my
own
part
blue
activates
a
painting’s
surface
in
a
way
no
other
colour
 does.
Chromatically
intense
enough
to
radiate
optically
beyond
the
canvas
 surface
it
also
seems
capable
of
producing
an
infinite
depth
within
its
surface.
 This
constant
opening
of
space
in
all
directions
is
for
me
vertiginous.
I
sense
a
 loss
of
location,
but
perhaps
as
for
Kapoor
“the
other
part
of
the
immaterial
or
 non
material
is
the
idea
of
the
immense.
The
immense
inspires
us
all.
Eyes
wide
 open
if
you
like”
(Kapoor
2006‐07).
He
mentions
the
archetypally
Romantic
 image
of
Caspar
David
Friedrich's
three
figures
standing
on
the
edge
of
the
cliff33
 by
way
of
illustration.
 Blue
seems
to
have
become,
somewhat
inadvertently,
a
fundamental
element
of
 my
palette.
This
was
never
a
 conscious
intention.
While
a
child
 my
favourite
colour
was
always
 blue,
but
this
pat
answer
to
the
 traditional
question
seemed
 inconsequential
and
my
earlier
 palette
was
not
as
such,
dominated
 by
the
colour.
My
first
really
 deliberate
blue
painting
only
came
 in
1994.
It
was
my
first
painting
post
 apartheid.
Attempt
to
Gather
(1994)
 is
a
largish
painting
of
170
x
190cm.
 It
depicts
a
number
of
objects
set
 against
a
blue
sky
and
creates,
 possibly,
a
sense
of
upliftment.
 It
led
to
a
number
of
paintings
where
blue
became
more
and
more
prominent.
 The
sky
of
the
day
became
the
sky
at
night
and
in
my
mind
a
place
of
infinity
into

33
Chalk
Cliffs
on
Ruegen
(1818‐19)




























































which
anything
could
be
thrown.
Detached
from
the
dictates
of
gravity
the
laws
 of
compositional
organisation
open
up
–
anything
can
go
anywhere.
The
sky
as
a
 field
of
space,
the
unlimited,
a
place
of
imagining,
longing.
A
place
of
both
 darkness
and
light.



Nightlight
(c.
1996)


Blue,
whether
it
is
the
blue
of
the
‘void’
or
a
blue
screen
projection
is
always
both
 infinitely
empty
and
endlessly
full.
Images
such
as
Free
Fall
(2008),
Sightlines
 (2009)
and
Event
Horizon
II
(2009)
attempt
to
engage
such
notions.
Suspended
 like
Pascal
in
the
1600s,
between
“the
two
abysses
of
infinity
and
nothingness”
 frees
one
from
the
sanctuary
of
certitude.
Thus
through
association
and
the
 optical
sensation
of
the
colour,
blue
reinforces
a
sense
of
freedom
where
fear
and
 faith
might
reconfigure.


Free
Fall
(2008)



 Event
Horizon
(2009)



 Sightlines

(2009)



 Blue
Screen
Day
(2010)
work
in
progress


Bibliography
 Ball,
Philip
(2003)
The
Bright
Earth
–
Art
and
the
Invention
of
Colour
University
of
 Chicago
Press,
Chicago
 Buckingham,
Matthew
(2003)
Colors
/
Ultramarine
Cabinet
Issue
10
Property
 Spring
2003
 Gray,
Brenden
(2007)
Kathryn
Smith
at
the
Goodman
Gallery
 http://www.artthrob.co.za/07oct/reviews/goodman.html
 Jarman,
Derek
(1993)
Blue
 http://www.slowmotionangel.com/Jarman/films.htm

 Kapoor,
Anish
(2006‐2007)
‘Ascension’
interview
with
Marcello
Dantas
in
Rio
de
 Janeiro/San
Paulo,
Brazil
 http://www.anishkapoor.com/writing/brazilinterview.htm

 Searle,
Adrian
(2008)
Don’t
Forget
Your
Wellies
 http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/2008/sep/04/art
 Ware,
Mike
(1999,
reprinted
2004)
Cyanotype:
the
History,
Science
and
Art
of
 Photographic
Printing
in
Prussian
Blue
Cromwell
Press
National
Museum
 Photography,
Film
and
Television
 Ware,
Mike
(2004)
John
Herschel's
Cyanotype:
Invention
or
Discovery?
 http://www.mikeware.co.uk/mikeware/John_Herschel.html