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Press Release

Dickinson Gallery Presents:
Spectrum – A curated selection of 20th Century works exploring artists’ use of colour 
Frieze Viewing Room, 7 – 16 October 2020


For Frieze Viewing Room 2020, Dickinson will present Spectrum, a curated selection of 20th Century works exploring the significance and meaning of colour. Bringing together an impressive range of both abstract and representative examples, the exhibition will provide a comprehensive survey of the colour spectrum with examples from OpArt, Pop, Minimalism and other landmark movements. The show will be led by Yves Klein’s IKB 170 (1960), an early work in his signature hue, and will feature significant examples by Lucio Fontana and Josef Albers, among others. Spectrum also honours the recent use of the rainbow as a tribute to key workers during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Spectrum will be accompanied by a scholarly digital brochure investigating the history and importance of colour in art, from the philosophy of the ancient Greeks, to the invention of the colour wheel by Sir Isaac Newton, to the development of modern pigments and their associations with Post-War and Contemporary artists and movements. Dickinson will also offer virtual installations, tours and online videos.

The world is blue. –Yves Klein

The colour blue came to define Klein’s work: IKB 70 was painted in 1960, the same year Klein registered his signature synthetic ultramarine as ‘International Klein Blue’. The cooler side of the rainbow will also be represented by Op artist Heinz Mack’s Untitled (1964), with its shimmering, hatched bands of blue; and Squares: Blue and Cobalt Green in Cadmium Green (1958) by Josef Albers, which follows the meticulous painterly and geometric process he developed for his seminal Homage to the Square series.

If one says ‘red’ – the name of colour – and there are fifty people listening, it can be expected that there will be fifty reds on their minds. And one can be sure that all these reds will be very different. – Josef Albers

Lucio Fontana, meanwhile, is closely associated with red, the colour of his most sought-after works. Spectrum will feature two red paintings from the 1960s, Concetto Spaziale, I Quanta (c. 1960) and Concetto Spaziale (1964-65), representing his iconic tagli (‘cuts’) and buchi (‘holes’) styles respectively. Surrealist Max Ernst also relied on red and orange hues for his Arizona Rouge (1955), a semi-abstract landscape homage to his home in the deserts of Sedona, Arizona.

Also on show will be works in rainbow hues: some, like Peter Halley’s BLOWOUT (1997) and Imi Knoebel’s Rosa Quadrat (1998), composed according to strict geometric arrangements; others, like Gerhard Richter’s Grün-Blau-Rot (1993) relying on the element of chance to arrange the intense green, blue and red pigments on the canvas. The show will also feature pieces by Rudolf Stingel, Amédée Ozenfant, Alexander Calder, and Leon Polk Smith, among others.

Dickinson continues its commitment to charity by once again donating a portion of the proceeds from sales during the fair to NHS Covid-19 Emergency Appeal in Britain. This follows Dickinson’s previous charitable projects, in support of organisations including At The Bus, Herriot Hospice Homecare, and Pancreatic Cancer UK.

Spectrum continues Dickinson’s tradition of themed stands. Previous Frieze Masters exhibitions include Lyrical Abstraction (2019); Formed from Nature: Barbara Hepworth (2018); Expressionism in Europe (2017); Surrealist Revolution (2016); Masters of Cubism (2015); Picasso at the Bateau Lavoir (2014); and Landscape Revisited (2013).