Curated by Javier RAMIREX
Opening Reception: SATURDAY December 7th, 2 - 6 pm
December 7, 2013 - January 2, 2014
Vicktor CHAPOVALOV - Helen KHOLIN - Annette HORNSKOV
Gabriella KAUFFMANN - Helen MATHIASEN - Rosamaria SBIROLI
Anneke PEEREBOOM - Javier RAMIREX
Neumagener Straße 27
Marzia Frozen is pleased to announce an international group exhibition of a new generation of artists working today. This will be a group exhibition at MARZIA FROZEN in Berlin, and will feature a selection of paintings, sculptures, performances and videos.
At Goethe's time, it was generally acknowledged that, as Isaac Newton had shown in his Opticks in 1704, colourless (white) light is split up into its component colours when directed through a prism.
Along with the rest of the world I was convinced that all the colours are contained in the light; no one had ever told me anything different, and I had never found the least cause to doubt it, because I had no further interest in the subject.
But how I was astonished, as I looked at a white wall through the prism, that it stayed white! That only where it came upon some darkened area, it showed some colour, then at last, around the window sill all the colours shone... It didn't take long before I knew here was something significant about colour to be brought forth, and I spoke as through an instinct out loud, that the Newtonian teachings were false.
Goethe's starting point was the supposed discovery of how Newton erred in the prismatic experiment, and by 1793 Goethe had formulated his arguments against Newton in the essay "Über Newtons Hypothese der diversen Refrangibilität" ("On Newton's hypothesis of diverse refrangibility").Yet, by 1794, Goethe had begun to increasingly note the importance of the physiological aspect of colours.
As Goethe notes in the historical section, Louis Bertrand Castel had already published a criticism of Newton's spectral description of prismatic colour in 1740 in which he observed that the sequence of colours split by a prism depended on the distance from the prism — and that Newton was looking at a special case.
"Whereas Newton observed the colour spectrum cast on a wall at a fixed distance away from the prism, Goethe observed the cast spectrum on a white card which was progressively moved away from the prism... As the card was moved away, the projected image elongated, gradually assuming an elliptical shape, and the coloured images became larger, finally merging at the centre to produce green. Moving the card farther led to the increase in the size of the image, until finally the spectrum described by Newton in the Opticks was produced... The image cast by the refracted beam was not fixed, but rather developed with increasing distance from the prism. Consequently, Goethe saw the particular distance chosen by Newton to prove the second proposition of the Opticks as capriciously imposed." (Alex Kentsis, Between Light and Eye).
In the nineteenth century Goethe's Theory was taken up by Schopenhauer in On Vision and Colors, who developed it into a kind of arithmetical physiology of the action of the retina, much in keeping with his own representative realism. In the twentieth century the theory was transmitted to philosophy via Wittgenstein, who devoted a series of remarks to the subject at the end of his life. These remarks are collected as Remarks on Colour, (Wittgenstein, 1977). Wittgenstein was interested in the fact that some propositions about colour are apparently neither empirical nor exactly a priori, but something in between: phenomenology, according to Goethe. However, he took the line that 'There is no such thing as phenomenology, though there are phenomenological problems.' He was content to regard Goethe's observations as a kind of logic or geometry. Wittgenstein took his examples from the Runge letter included in the "Farbenlehre", e.g. "White is the lightest colour", "There cannot be a transparent white", "There cannot be a reddish green", and so on. The logical status of these propositions in Wittgenstein's investigation, including their relation to physics, was discussed in Jonathan Westphal's Colour: a Philosophical Introduction (Westphal, 1991).