Talking about worlds, where 'red' lives

Interview with the musician, composer, painter, graphic artist, photographer and sculptor Jeff Beer on the occasion of his exhibition “PUPATIONS II”
Christine Schmid: In a press briefing with Anastasia Poscharsky-Ziegler from Neuer Tag you impressively described what the color “red” means to you. Could you please shortly specify that again?

Jeff Beer: We know the colors, and I am puzzled again everytime when people say they have no use for non-objective painting, e.g. painting that focuses on the use of the nature of color; they would not understand that kind of painting. We know the colors very well, I am convinced that we especially know “red” best, a color that has an amazing spell and embodies plenty of quality that is deeply anchored in human cognition. You just have to think about the “places” where “red” is at home, so to speak. Where can we find “red”? In blood, I would say, in the essence of blood – I am sure there will be good reasons why human blood is red. We can find it in fire and glow, in parching objects, in glowing metal. The blacksmith uses the beautiful word “cherry-red” to describe the glowing iron. Moreover, we find it in minerals, in crops and fruits, in the world of flowers, in feathers, coat colors and butterfly wings of the animal world, we find it as a part of the human flesh tint, but particularly within bodies, in the organs, whose colorfulness interests me most. In the “red” of the lungs, the liver, the kidneys etc. – these are special worlds of red. Furthermore, there are the reds of the planets and stars, galaxies etc. – But do not misunderstand this concept and think I would be interested in deriving certain reds from their natural environment, it is rather the other way round! As a matter of fact, a painter has an unlimited interest in color. On the one hand, he tries to enlarge his knowledge of colors and his esthesia for the complex spectrum of colors by studying the phenomena of the world that can be experienced; on the other hand, the detailed observation and phenomenological engagement with outer forms of color has allowed him to advance a certain coloring which he has in himself and uses to develop his own language of color, a language that he uses as distinctive and intimate tool in his painting.

Interview: Christine Schmid with Jeff Beer, winter of 2005, published in “BHS-Today” – No. 19, 2005