Sofia Nercasseau at Centro Extensión Instituto Nacional (CEINA)

While the surrounding world may seem most vivid when reduced to black or white, Sofia Nercasseau advocates for the power of the full spectrum. “Laboratorio del color” (Laboratory of Color), the artist’s first major institutional exhibition, progresses from a pedagogical display of scientific knowledge to a dramatic and poetic exposition of how we perceive light. Along the way, various elements in this total installation recall those of painters Tarsila do Amaral or Xul Solar, as well as the underappreciated works of Hilma af Klint and her coterie and even the experimental cinema by Agnès Varda.

The exhibition delves into color’s relationship to the written word, science, and the natural world. In the first section, Nercasseau offers a series of ceramics, the artist’s book Blue Folder, 2018, and Color in Black and White, 2023, nineteen photograms that take a conceptual approach to the definition of color. Glass Stairs, 2023, revisits Goethe’s triangle, the poet’s experimental theory of the light spectrum’s connection to human emotion. The project sets up two glass staircases that each contain water, dyed yellow and blue. The concentration of the hue changes with the surface area, echoing Goethe’s findings. The installation Black Sun, 2023, nods to the origins of color with a rotating bulb that projects a text describing the duration of a ray of light’s journey to Earth from the sun: eight minutes and twenty seconds.

The exhibition concludes with Excerpts about the Color Laboratory, 2023, a projection that catalogues the artist’s attempts to locate chromatic patterns among her daily surroundings. Her research moves between the generic definition and the specific manifestation, between the macro and the micro, and between perception and action.

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