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Press release

Groninger Museum surprises visitors with exhibition on colour

How will Colour! affect you?

Friday 27 May 2022
Cornelie Tollens, untitled (1993)
Cornelie Tollens, untitled (1993)

Groninger Museum surprises visitors with exhibition on colour

How will Colour! affect you?

The meanings and uses of colour are revealed in fresh new ways in a new exhibition at the Groninger Museum. Colour! presents a cheerful selection of fashion, paintings, photography, sculpture and ceramics. Objects on show include major works by Inez van Lamsweerde, Bruce Nauman, Marga Weimans and the painters of De Ploeg. The unique combinations of artworks and objects will get visitors thinking as they “feel” the colours. How do colours affect you? Do they evoke emotion, draw you in, perhaps even repel you?

Emotion and symbolism

People have been adding colour to objects, clothing, and their own bodies since time immemorial. Colours have meaning. In the Netherlands we associate orange with the royal family. It symbolises national unity, as can clearly be seen when the streets flood with orange during a football championship. In the exhibition, orange shines bright in a 1945 “liberation skirt” and a work by the Australian aboriginal artist Lucy Napanangka Yukenbarri.

Red is for power, passion – and oppression

The exhibition is full of unexpected combinations. In the red room, a portrait shows how the old Groningen aristocracy liked to be portrayed in chic red cloaks. But in a photograph by Cornélie Tollens, red is the colour of love and passion. And in a work by Chi Peng, red is inextricably bound up with Chinese culture, where it symbolises luck and prosperity. At the same time, as the country’s national colour, it refers to an oppressive political regime.

A spectrum of styles and materials

Inside the multihued Groninger Museum, every room explores a colour’s meaning and background. How is it produced? How can it affect your mood? Can you manipulate it? There are an infinite number of shades in the spectrum; Colour! focuses on familiar paintbox hues. We start with yellow and move through green, red, pink, orange and blue. We also look at the non-colours black and white, used together in art to produce maximum contrast. You’ll experience a unique explosion of colour expressed through a vast range of styles and materials. You’ll never look at colours and their effects on you in the same way again.

The exhibition is curated by Nadia Abdelkaui.

Colour! at the Groninger Museum: 9 July 2022 – 8 January 2023