A sudden blaze of fire or the sudden darkness caused by an eclipse are readily observed, and the act of observing them is reflected in the emotion. The need to give an explanation to the phenomenon just observed automatically comes from emotion. We are interested in, we remain impressed, we want to know what happened, what caused the fire, why the sky is suddenly become dark. We want to know the meaning.

 We realize that this shock that mind has suffered through the eyes was caused by the sudden change of color.

 Each visual appearance is a product of color for us. The contours that determine the shape depend on the eye’s ability to distinguish between different clarity and color areas.

 Also in the line drawings the forms are made ​​visible by the difference in color and clarity between the ink and the paper.

Operazione spaziocromatica H5, 1966, tecnica mista su carta, cm. 35 x 50 Naturally only color don’t determine the vision of an object. In fact the shape is necessary. A green disc on a yellow background is just as circular as a red disc on a blue background, but have they the same meaning? In other words, the emotion they produce in a viewer is just the same? For example when we look at two bottles of wine, a bottle of white Frascati wine or a bottle of Chianti red wine, awakens it in us the same emotion? When we see a film in Technicolor our emotion is the same as when we see a black and white film?

We see road signs around us, advertising, cars, etc., in which color is used as a means of communication, of information. And when  color is more accurate, clearer, brighter, it’s easier to understand the meaning, the need for that use.

The psychological experiments have revealed differences in the ways people react to color and shape. The experiments done on some mentally ill people did made discover that euphoric character individuals were more sensitive to color, while the depressed types preferred the form. The predominance of the color indicates openness to external stimuli. The propensity to form agrees with the introverted character, with a strong impulse control, with the pedantic and unemotional attitude.

We can say that the color vision is an action that start from the object and is expressed in the person that is watching. In the perception of form mind is the organizer that goes toward the object. When you look at a painting in all probability, emotions we feel spontaneously act on the passive receptivity of the mind, while the constructive structure of the design refers to the organizing activity of the mind.

According to Charles Blanc, "the union of design and color is needed to create the painting, as the union of the man and woman is needed to define the mankind."




It’s very widespread the belief that the meaning of color is based on association. In fact, the effect of color is too much direct and spontaneous, and thus it hasn’t yet been formulated any precise hypotheses about the type of physiological process that may explain the influence of color on the organism. There are only experiments. During his neurological practices Goldstein saw that a patient with brain craze when she wore a red dress she had equilibrium disturbances, and these symptoms disappeared when he wore a green dress. After several other experiments, he concluded that colors corresponding to large wavelengths, like red and yellow, are accompanied by a reaction on the rise, while those of short wavelength such as blue and purple promote its decline.
Therefore according to Goldstein, organism under the action of different colors is pushed to the outside world or it recedes from it focusing toward the center of the organism.
Allesch observed that those colors that “meet” the viewer (ex: red) and those who turn away (blue) have a more dynamic effect. Other colors such as orange seem to dilate, while others such as black seem to shrink.

Several observations on the environment color effects on people have been made ​​by decorators, designers and therapists. "A witty French - Goethe refers - ensured that the tone of his conversation with Madame had changed since she had changed the color of the upholstery of his living room from sky-blue to crimson." We could speak of many other experiments, but the discussion would become too long and anecdotal.Operazione spaziocromatica H6, 1966, tecnica mista su carta, cm. 35 x 50

 However, all these observations are verbal and it is impossible to exactly determine to which specific colors are related. Because even when we look the same color in a print or a painting, it’s not at all sure that the same red or yellow we are seeing is seen by two observers in the same way. For example one evening I observed a picture along with two French gentlemen, a psychologist and a critic, and I said: "It’s strange how this orange change in violet if there it’s always alternated on a purple light. And the psychologist said: "But it isn’t orange, it's pink." And it was born a great discussion.

 It’s well known that color-blind people don’t see the red.

These are general observations, without pretending to establish a special doctrine. I note some facts that may help to understand how it’s complex the problem of color and how expression, and the meaning that derives, appears closely related to the taste of the age in which we live, to the interests we have, to our individual temperament and to our particular state of mind.

Kandinsky and Goethe spoke about the influence of color on individuals, they have expressed the meaning of colors. But when they spoke about red, what red was that? light, dark, medium cinnabar, and which brand? Academia, Maimeri or Rembrandt? And when they spoke about red-yellow or yellow-green, which was the correct intonation?

 It result the need to see a picture at first with a few color elements to start a discourse that enables us to understand the meaning as clearly as possible. It’s necessary the shock of strong and sharp colors, which arouses the interest of viewer. It’s necessary the regularity and the uniqueness of forms for a more direct perception of the structures and to avoid bias in the way of seeing. It’s necessary the purity of color expressing clearly  the meaning of our action.

These guidelines can form the foundations of a visual language that may be common to all.

 

 LIA DREI

  (Text read during the debate held at the Casa della Cultura in Livorno, 20th November, 1965,

 for the exhibition " Strutture significanti ")