Sunday, December 12, 2010

pink; pink tons

The colour pink is normally associated with sweetness, intimacy and fragility but this intense mass of glass, even though it does look light, airy and beautifully translucent, is an incredible contrast to it's reality. I have never seen this work but I was instantly attracted to the above image of Roni Horn's Pink Tons created in 2008. Apart from being attracted to the colour, the sheer size of the work made me want to know more! The piece is solid cast glass and stands at 48 x 48 x 48 inches. 

I want to start talking about this work with you all imagining a pink cloud floating next to it. Go on, can you see the pink cloud in the background next to it? Good. A pink cloud would be an obvious thing to create with pale pink, as our associations with the colour would be represented within such a work. We can easily imagine being engulfed by it and the feelings we would feel towards such a lovely cloud of pink fluff. It is something that can be imagined within our minds and we can easily create the feelings we imagine we would feel, as it's reality is not far off what we would imagine, even if we can't physically experience it. We see pink clouds often during a wonderful sunset and have a lifetime of looking and imagining what it would feel like to experience a pink cloud. How lovely would that be?!?!?!

If we now go back and look at Pink Tons with the feelings and emotions we have just felt with our imaginary pink cloud work, we are almost stopped in our tracks, like we've just been hit by a big pink semi-trailer truck! Pink is not meant to hurt us in that way! It is meant to be gentle, calming, even soothing to be around, but Horn's work does everything but soothe us. A mass of heavy glass masquerading as something light and translucent, cannot go forth and fool us, especially with the knowledge that this work ways a hefty 5 tonnes, or can it?

It has been said that in a certain light or at a different perspective, this pink mass of solid dense glass gives the appearance of a liquid surface, like an ice cube starting to melt from being exposed to room temperature. But this work is not melting away or disappearing before our very eyes. It is here to stay! Pink Tons questions our associations with pink and how we perceive the context for the colour.  It makes us think of materials and materiality and how they can be transformed to trick us into thinking differently about their reality.

Is Pink Tons, a mass of cast glass, really that much different to a cloud? And is pink really that much different to any other colour? It seems this work highlights  our reactions to and feelings towards things is what determines how different they really are.

This work would be a feat to experience and one that I hope to some day. Until then, all I can do is try and live the experience by talking about it with you.


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