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Colors in art

By Aditya in Daily Musings
Updated 17:59 IST Feb 17, 2020

Views » 131 | 3 min read

I understand the commercial compulsion. It has become nearly impossible for film makers (and artists at large) to keep their art independent of commerce and hence a lot of films we see these days are monochrome. Firmly dipped in a saffron or green or blue and now the newly emerging or shall we say reemerging red, the chosen color complements the product’s (art?) positioning. The choice of color isn’t a subtle watermark anymore; these films are blatantly opaque. There is no chance of any light passing through, everything is reflected back in the same color. I am unwilling to call these products work of art, these are mere propaganda tools.

The other extreme is the transparent film. Very rare to find, we will have to go back in time or broaden our search to find such gems. We know it when we see such film, because it stands out in its brilliant transparency. The work is clear, it is sharp, the expression is independent of any ad-hoc riders and it allows us to witness the full spectrum of color. It expands our world view. Above all, despite its brilliance, it appears disarmingly simple.

But, like with most professions, film makers strive to find a sweet spot in between these two extremes. Most artists have an elevated ego and they are shamelessly expressive about it. Of course they speak through their art and hence it is obvious that most films are translucent. Such an art form will allow some light to pass, remaining it will scatter or reflect or absorb, that depends on the level of translucence. The light that does refract will offer us an array of colors, if not the full spectrum. It will leave us with the choice to cling on to the one color we obssess with or view it as a whole. It may or may not care for our perspective but it will give us a window seat view.

Those are the choices that an artist has for projecting his/her perspective. As viewers do we have a choice?

As for the opaque products, we can either avoid them altogether or simply bathe under the color. Either way it will not make any difference to our perspectives. If we are lucky enough to encounters a transparent film, then we must cherish it and allow the film to expand our vision.

What do we do while dealing with the translucent exhibits? That is the question. What do we do when we come across a film which neither contradicts our perspective nor confirms with it? Do we seek out the color of our choice? Do we then criticize if it is too little or too much? Do we mock others who find another color of their choice in the film? Do we wait for the film maker’s opinion/explanation? Do we refer the critic’s opinion? Do we wait to see how much accolades do the film garner, such that we can decide our position, whether to be critical or supportive?

Or do we simply enjoy the film for what it is, love what we like and leave what we don’t? Can we for once remove the shades that we are wearing? Only if we observe with our naked eyes will we be able to see art for what it is. As I said, the artists have commercial compulsions, do we too?

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