A bright pink page of the book drew me to it. It was lying in a showcase in the Stedelijk Museum amongst many other objects and flyers, but the brightness of the opened page made the book stand out. On the left page you could see a picture of an Indian girl sitting behind a table. On the table in between her hands was a small heap of bright pink powder, almost the same color as the bindi on her forehead. The page on the right was a page of bright pink textile.
This book (put together by Nikki Gonnissen and Thomas Widdershoven) shows works and gives a feel of the work by Fransje Killaars, a dutch artist who graduated from the Rijksacadamie in 1984. In the beginning of her career she mainly made paintings, but it is her later work, her textiles, which attracts me most.
I read in an article about the Dutch artist that she is fascinated by the power of color, the relationship between people and textiles and the way textiles are bound up in daily life. I was able to take a closer look at the book in the library of the Stedelijk Museum and I was surprised to see how much more attractive Fransje Killaar’s work is portrayed in the book than for example the images on Google search. It was then that I realized that like Fransje Killaars I was not only fascinated by the power of color, but especially the combination of colors in our daily lives. Seeing Fransje Killaars’ textiles transforming an old attic space into a bohemian paradise,
or seeing her carpets thrown over a washing line hung amongst palms seems to play much more on the imagination rather than seeing the fabrics placed in the middle of a white clean gallery space.
In a gallery space the work is merely about colors; about the contrast between them and the brightness that a color can have. Yet for me the excitement comes when you find bright colors in someone’s kitchen, when colors pop up amongst plants, how sunlight can give a color different shades and all colors on the knit sweaters of the Rietveld students in the winter.
I caught myself playing around with this fascination on my guilty pleasure, Instagram.
I try to eat an orange every day, but before I get to peeling it I like to take a picture of the bright orange against the clothing I am wearing that day. I have realized that by doing so I put a frame around a moment or literally make a snapshot of the moment. It may be only esthetics, but for me it is quite a luxury that you can find such esthetics in everyday life.
The combination of color and the sense of touch is another element, which I find rather appealing. Holding the skin of an orange against a green, wool knit sweater, running your hands over a an orange shag rug or a purple suede dress is often much more exciting than looking at the same colors on a 2d canvas. Do not get me wrong; I have nothing against the great color field painters, who can use colors in a fragile and moving way. These painters succeed in translating emotions into color, into paint, but when it comes to the exuberance of a color or the contrast between them I think this can be best portrayed in a more hands on manner.
The brightness and the vividness of the use in colors in Fransje Killaar’s textiles seem to be more about the celebration of life, about the joy that a blotch of color can add to every day scenery. The use of color in her work is about the beauty of variety. It is not without reason that a mixture of joyful and interesting people is referred to as colorful. The pink page in the book was what had grasped my attention, but the comparison made with the girl holding the same color pink in between her hands and a trace of the color left as a dot in between her eyes is what made me linger and look at it more carefully.