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The Colour of Words – Bloomsbury Festival 2020

Artist Mary Kuper will present a series of paintings on colour terms in different languages with the title ‘The Colour of Words’ at this year’s Bloomsbury Festival.

Left: Ao – Blue sky, green bamboo black earth and a dappled grey horse Right: Red Mary Kuper

The Bloomsbury Festival 2020 takes place from the 16th to the 25th of October as a range of digital, outdoor and gallery events. Many of the events are free and you can book on each event page. View the entire programme here. The theme of this year’s festival is ‘Vision’.

A virtual version of the exhibition can be accessed here.

Mary Kuper’s work ‘The Colour of Words’ will be shown at Russell & Chapple (30-31 Store Street, London WC1E 7QE) from the 16th to the 25th of October 2020. No advance booking is required. Inspired by the research on diversity of colour terms across languages, Kuper explores how we talk about colour in different contexts and cultures around the world.

Cattle Coloured – Mary Kuper

This exhibition offers no answers to these fundamental questions about how similar and how different we are in what we name and what we see, or if what we can name affects what we can comprehend. I have simply tried to translate some of the research back into colour and share my enjoyment of the complexity of the questions. – Mary Kuper

What we see and what we name – Mary Kuper

The human eye sees more than a million colours. We name only a few and these vary from language to language. This exhibition explores the colours some of these words describe: the white of a eucalyptus tree and the white of a clay pit, the colour of ripe bamboo. The images are made using artist’s pigments, each of which has a name in a specialist vocabulary of about 600 names.By contrast, there are languages which leave much of the colour space unnamed, or where colour is inseparable from other characteristics, such as smoothness or brilliance. – Mary Kuper

Mary Kuper previously collaborated with ELAR on the Language Fest 2017, where she created a series of paintings inspired by metaphors of the body drawn from languages of the world.

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