Today The Dot Project opens its show ‘The Politics of Pink’, in which seven male artists feature work made for the show or previously made canvases from their practice that they feel engage with the socially charged debate around the relevance and associations the colour brings to mind.
The exhibition attempts to dismantle pink semiotically, hoping to differentiate between an artist’s personal associations with the colour and any sentiments about it that we assume to be objective truths.
Male Artists Muse on the Politics of Pink
To accompany the show each artist has answered a few questions, which aim to provoke an engaging debate around their associations with the colour:
‘Do you agree that in art the shade pink can be used as a tool to subvert and distort its traditional cultural associations?‘
Elliot Fox: ‘I agree it can be – depending on what traditional cultural associations you hold to it. I realise that the use of pink in my work, which discuss ideas surrounding masculinity, could be seen to subvert these traditional ideas. I don’t feel this is a conscious and deliberate ploy on my behalf, but if people want to apply this narrative to my work as a viewer, then it doesn’t really bother me. I’ve always been interested in laying foundations in my work that can allow people to draw different conclusions – That’s half the fun.’
Matthew F Fisher: ‘When a constant is known, pink equals femininity, it becomes more interesting to invert that structure and play it against itself. After awhile, that too becomes known. To then bend it back towards the original stance but allow it to stay in the middle, where it can be one, the other, both, or neither creates a more complex reading of the work.’
Albert Riera Galceran: ‘I do agree that pink is a color that socially has always been related to femininity but that isn’t something that bothers me. I’ve been told many times that my paintings look like a female artist has painted them. In a way, I think it makes sense to me because I do have a feminine side and I guess my paintings show that but at the same time I do think that we shouldn’t create a barrier between gender when we’re talking about pink or any other color. I think the importance is in the way it’s used more than the color itself. Pink is a beautiful color and everyone should feel free to use it and give it personal significance.’
Jonathan Lux: ‘Sure it can. I think its just fine for colour to be weaponized for a mischievous purpose, but not every work would need that tactic, so it’s important to not abuse the tool. I think subversion can only find its mark if it comes as a surprise. Often a degree of detachment from wondering what a colour is up to, can lead to a more unexpected and satisfying outcome.’
Reuben Beren James: ‘I would like to believe so and to an extent I agree, what interests me about art – at least in my own work, is its relative position in regards to how it is understood. The art world provides an environment where artists can choose to utilise things like colour in an attempt to subvert or reinforce cultural associations, but what I find interesting is how regardless of intention people will impose their own form of classification onto these works, and in this respect, any perceived power to subvert or distort is taken out of the hands of the artist and placed into those of the viewer.’
Konrad Wyrebek: ‘Yes I definitely agree. Art is like another universe where we freely construct and deconstruct old and new ideas and throw them out there, to see if the world is going to swallow it. More likely just lick it like a strawberry ice cream.’
When & Where: ‘The Politics of Pink’ runs from 12 April to 27 May at The Dot Project, 94 Fulham Road, London, SW3 6HS