Colour Fields on Shopping Center – and where you can find Inspiration(9)

April 24, 2008

Sounds a bit weird? Maybe – but when you see what I found on one of my last cycling trips through the city besides all those wonderful blossoms trees is the following. Of course I had to stop and photograph these walls:

I don’t know whether the group of architects who designed the outer shell of the center wanted to create something that is reminiscent of the op-art movement in the 60’s of the last century or not but who could deny that there are some resemblances?

Looking not only at these images for a while – as I discovered later when loading them on the computer – but also at the real walls of the shopping center can send you into some trance-like, psychedelic state that seems to be reminiscent of the times of Woodstock and Ashbury Heights. The longer you stare at those colour-fields the more they seem to wiggle and twiggle and move just before your eyes. Did the designers want to turn the potential customer into some frantic shopping robot – I asked myself verwirrt? Maybe there are some hidden messages on those walls that tell people what to do – just like in the John Carpenter movie from 1988, “They Live”, starring Meg Foster. This would seem a bit ironical of course due to the fact that part of the 60’s movement was a denial of consumerism.

No matter what the original intent of the architect was I found these sometimes iridescent walls extremely fascinating and inspiring in their purity. What I also found quite interesting was, to realize, that the original intent of the “Hard Edge” (1958 by Jules Langsner) colour field painting techniques was to create an absolutely 2-dimensional feeling on the canvas instead of creating a 3-dimensional impression as for example in realistic styles.

“Hard Edge” , an abstract painting style, adds geometrical forms to one another without reference to classical composition rules, emotions – and seemingly controlled by rational intent only. There are no traces of the brush to be found and the colours are often cold. While “Color-field Painting” often has seamless borders, “Hard Edge” colour-fields are strictly separated.

The walls I found on this shopping center interestingly enough proved to be exactly what the “Hard Edge” movement required: although 3-dimensional in reality, not only through being part of a building of course, but also through the form of the panels, which look like an accordion, they nevertheless appeared 2-dimensional, because the colour-fields simply tricked the eye and removed any impression of depth. So why not use this as inspiration for a new painting series?

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One Response to “Colour Fields on Shopping Center – and where you can find Inspiration(9)”


  1. the images would look great in a slide show


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