Through painting and sculpture, the use of red by these artists portrays the significance of their individual cultural, historical, and personal perspectives. The title of the exhibition takes inspiration from its namesake 1879 novel by Swedish author August Strindberg, which tells the tale of a struggling author grappling with the hypocrisy of society. He finds refuge in the “bohemian” community of Stockholm, who meet in a red dining room salon to discuss philosophy and art.
The first pigment known to man, red has a complex history. From the earliest cave paintings, it has been an essential tool for humans around the globe to develop and communicate. The symbolism and meaning of the colour ranges hugely and evokes feelings for different people, genders and cultures. It is arguably the colour with the most amount of varying meanings and can represent opposing psychological states. It has the capacity to arouse, anger, frighten, liberate, and call to action.
The relevance, as well as polarising meaning, of the colour red has been carried throughout art history, particularly when it comes to women. A colour which has traditionally represented sin, prostitution and shame can also depict liberation. Tracy Emin, Louise Bourgeois and Barbara Kruger are examples of artists who speak of rebellion, the body, and politics, using the same colour to convey different emotions.
Artists Shannon Bono (b.1996), Hannah Lim (b. 1998), Paula Turmina (b. 1991), and Georg Wilson (b. 1998), will present new works in the exhibition, each bringing their knowledge and notions of what this colour means to each of them. This spotlight on four very different contemporary artists will perhaps give an insight into the meaning of red for artists throughout their generation. Just as the salons of Strindberg’s time, we hope our Red Room will inspire creativity and discussion.