What is the colour of memory?

Pierce Egan, Life in London (1820-1), The Guildhall Library.

When Jules Wright from the Wapping Project asked me to write about the work of artist Elina Brotherus, I found myself turning to three short texts I had written concerning architecture, memory and colour. Brotherus’ photographic images spoke to me of nostalgia and anticipation and these pieces provided emotional positions from which to consider her work. I wove an account drawn from the ‘The Welsh Dresser’, along with two other personal reflections, into a critical essay on Brotherus’ autobiographic and landscape photography, called ‘Longing for the Lightness of Spring’. ‘Moss Green’ describes the derelict house of an architect, in which, on a Sunday in March, I found photographs of a brave new world of high rise housing blocks. ‘Bittersweet’ is the account of a visit made to a disused cork factory in Palafrugell in Catalunya in April, where the floor was scattered with the names of colours. Later that year, in November, I dreamt about a childhood home that had just been sold. ‘White Linen’ remembers this dream.

For an expedition to Seoul, as ‘what is the colour of memory?’ for Intersections between Art and Architecture, in 2002, a Korean vocal translation was added to each text as well as an image and an object drawn from each place.

For associated publications see Jane Rendell, ‘Writing in place of speaking’, Sharon Kivland and Lesley Sanderson (eds.), Transmission: Speaking and Listening, (Sheffield Hallam University and the Site Gallery, 2003) and Jane Rendell, ‘Site-Writing’, Sharon Kivland, Jaspar Joseph-Lester and Emma Cocker, (eds.), Inscription, (Sheffield Hallam University and the Site Gallery, 2005).

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