Last year, while reading Thought in the Act, by Erin Manning and Brian Massumi, I became familiar with the work of poet and writer Tito Mukhopadhyay. In Shadows Don’t Tell Stories he writes: I saw my shadow stop jumping. Then I realized that my shadow stopped jumping because I had stopped jumping. (...)
“How would a shadow tell a story without having a color of its own?” All the time shadows had to borrow the colors of the objects on which they would fall. And they colored all objects in one universal color. That color is the color of a shadow, which is a darker color on the borrowed color. I could now imagine how a shadow could silence the interaction between other colors if those colors happened to fall in the territory of its silence.
Here we are introduced to a world in which color is contingent; it emerges from our daily encounters with objects, but also when objects encounter one another. A borrowing-from and lending-to process, in constant motion, taking place in our surrounding environment.
The occurrence of color, and the fact that we see it, thus attests to our entanglement and our complicity with our surroundings. As such, color does tell stories.
In this part-lecture, part-experiment, I will consider color’s storytelling potential in the expanded field of painting. By employing a number of my works, which move between painting and installation, I aim to navigate through thinkers and notions that have informed my practice in the last years. These include color relationalism (Jonathan Cohen), color differential and hallucination of color (Eric Alliez).

Isabel Cordeiro (1973, Lisbon) lives and works in Amsterdam. She holds an MA in Fine Arts from the Piet Zwart Institute in Rotterdam and a degree in Architecture from the Faculty of Architecture of Lisbon. Most recently she completed a four-month residency at Hospitalfield, Arbroath, Scotland. Her work has been shown internationally at, amongst others, Kers Gallery, Amsterdam (2017), Bradwolff Projects, Amsterdam (2017), Glasgow Sculpture Studios (2016), Halle 14, Leipzig (2014), Das Weisse Haus, Vienna (2010), Jorge Shirley Gallery, Lisbon (2012), Gemeentemuseum, Den Haag (2008). She curated the exhibitions Life Without Negativity at at7, Amsterdam (2019), and My Respects to Madam Bernard at MoMart, Amsterdam (2015); and initiated the reading group On Painting (2016). Cordeiro teaches theory at the VAV department of the Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam, and she teaches at the St.Joost Academy (BFA) in Breda, and at the Minerva Academy (BFA) in Groningen.



A whole gradation of nuances and twinklings can be found in words, that express ‘faded’, ‘muffled’, ‘grey’, ‘grizzled’, ‘bright’ or ‘screaming’ colors. When Vilém Flusser states that colors ‘are how we perceive surfaces, which are becoming progressively the bearers of meaning’, let’s then cross the whole field of color dominance (‘Red is black’, Comme des Garcons 1988) towards the notion of ‘becoming imperceptible’ of Gilles Deleuze, who proposed ‘the Pink Panther who imitates nothing, reproduces nothing, but instead paints the world in its color, pink on pink’) What then does it mean, being colorless? A disqualification, an insult or the perfect state of being? Why is a male bird so colorful, a female so neutral?

Joke Robaard (1953) is an artist/researcher and archivist, Amsterdam. Together with art historian Camiel van Winkel she developed the book Assemblage; Bodies, Habits, Practices, which is released in 2018 by Valiz publishers. Recent video projects are Small Things That Can be Lined Up (2016), Domino/A (São Paolo, 2017) Domino/B (Club Solo, Breda, 2018). Joke Robaard lives and works in Amsterdam.