The World is Larger in Summer, 2006. Arena Gallery, Liverpool Biennial Independents Programme. Commissioned as part of the exhibition )Bracket This(
The World is Larger in Summer was a site-specific installation produced for The Liverpool Biennial Independents programme in 2006. The work recreated a 19th Century French scenic wallpaper – Isola Bella – as a collage that combined individual cut pieces of paper with fragments of commercial paint cards applied directly to the wall. Each fragment of paper or card was attached using blue-tack and therefore sat slightly proud of the wall’s surface, hovering in a gesture of instability, ready to drop at any time and alter or dissolve the view. Looking more closely at the installation it also became clear that the fragments of commercial paint cards included still contained glimpses of their ‘names’ - African Adventure, Delhi Bazaar, Nigerian Sands and Himalayan Musk - the colours suggesting that, simply by painting the walls of our home, we too can be transported on a journey to a fantastical or mythic place promising us adventure or escape from our everyday lives. The anthropologist Michael Taussig reflects on the shift in the constitution and materiality of colour from the natural to the synthetic through the use of aniline dyes derived from coal in the nineteenth century. Taussig highlights the residual presence of the substance of the world through the naming of industrial colour: “These names take all that colour had been with reference to the world of plants, bugs and minerals, and adds the magic of artifice, frequently the colonial exotic… the name is then the promise of a pleasure.” These colonial references resonate with the geographical context of this installation as Liverpool was a major slave trading port during the 18th Century.
Michael Taussig, What Colour Is The Sacred? (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009), 44.