curated by M.T.I.

COLOUR INSTALLATIONS – feel colour with your entire body

My fascination with colour started at a very early age. Colour is an incredibly expressive medium, but at the same time incredibly subjective. For me, it has an intangible, almost magical quality. It all started with searching for the rainbow in the sky, then colour coordinating my books and clothes, fighting with my friend over the fact if her t-shirt was orange or red. Of course it was red, I was so certain about that.

If you draw a line on your canvas, it will be the same shape now, later, tomorrow, and forever. But make that line red and suddenly everything changes.

Bevil Conway

This quote is so on point! The red you put on the canvas will not be the same red once it dries. It will not be the same red in a different light, it will not be the same red if you put a green line next to it, and, most importantly, it will not be the same red to everyone else. It is this striking ambiguity in colour that always caught my interest. 

For this month’s Curated by M.T.I. section I will present you some inspiring colour installations, made by artists who explore colour in very interesting ways. I will end up with showing you a fun university project, where I got to be the creator of my own colour experiment.

Whether site-specific or designed with a venue in mind, installation art has the ability to transform its surroundings and invite viewers to observe art from new perspectives. This colour installations create an immersive experience for the viewer and invite them to feel colour with their entire body.


Carlos Cruz-Diez (b. 1923) is a Franco-Venezuelan artist who has been active within the field of Kinetic and Optical Art since the 1960s. His body of work has established him as one of the key twentieth-century thinkers in the realm of colour.

Cruz-Diez has been experimenting with vision and colour since that time, dedicating himself to an almost scientific exploration of chromatic experience in order create a method for showing colour in what he calls ‘its permanent mutation’.

“We have made colour a certainty over the centuries, but it isn’t. Colour is just a circumstance created instantaneously before our eyes.”

Carlos Cruz – Diez

All Chromasaturation images © Carlos Cruz-Diez

“The Chromosaturation creates an artificial environment composed of three color chambers, one red, one green and one blue that immerse the visitor in a completely monochrome situation. This experience creates disturbances in the retina, accustomed to receive wide range of colors simultaneously. The Chromosaturation can act as a trigger, activating in the viewer the notion of color as a material or physical situation, going into space without the aid of any form or even without any support, regardless of cultural beliefs.”


All Chromasaturation images © Carlos Cruz-Diez

Carlos Cruz-Diez Interview: The Colours We Create from Luisiana Channel Produced and edited by: Roxanne Bagheshirin Lærkesen
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2016

For more about Carlos Cruz-Diez and colour installations visit:


Color Factory is a collaborative, pop-up,  interactive art exhibit that debuted in San Francisco in August 2017. What was intended as a month-long run, unexpectedly flourished as a celebration of color and creativity that lasted for another eight sold-out months.

In August 2018, a whole new palette came to New York City in SoHo’s Hudson Square neighbourhood. In 20,000 square feet, they feature brand-new participatory colour installations— hues that invite curiosity, discovery and play by engaging all of your senses in unexpected ways.

It has soon become an Instagram sensation and has commonly been cited as part of a trend of “Instagram museums”, temporary art exhibitions catered towards younger millennials which are designed to be photographed and shared on social media. Co-founder Jordan Ferney (the creator of the popular blog Oh Happy Day) has publicly pushed back against descriptions of Color Factory as an Instagram museum, stating that her goal “had always been to make something that was beautiful to experience, not photograph”. I personally think that art that becomes instagrammable doesn’t lose its core message. It  just has that something more that is worth sharing with the rest of the world.

THE COLOR FACTORY_installation with a pool of blue balloons

All photography courtesy of Color Factory via Dezeen

“Our goal is to make a kid think this is the most fun thing in the entire world. And for an adult to be fulfilled by the same things — like the light-up dance floor — but also the funny, special, even serious moments you have to look more closely to find.”

Jordan Ferney

All photography courtesy of Color Factory via Dezeen

THE COLOR FACTORY_installation with colorful stripes

Photography courtesy of Color Factory via AD


Vibrant site-specific installation by German artist duo Tomislav Topić and Thomas Granseuer (aka Quintessenz). Created as part of the Paxos Contemporary Art Project in Greece, “Kagkatikas Secret” the in installation was set in 400 year-old ruin in the small island village of Kagatika.

Mesh-like fabric has been spray-painted in 120 different shades, creating a kaleidoscopic, digital pixel-like mirage. Each layer becomes larger and more prominent as visitors walk towards the centuries-old stone windows that form the backdrop to the artwork.

With roots in both graffiti-culture and chromatic, Quintessenz combine painting, moving image, and installation. Space is the fundamental inspiration for Quintessenz. Their work not only uses shapes and patterns found in architecture, it interferes with its environment, changing the spectators perception of space.

Photos: Jewgeni Roppel , curtesy of Quintessenz

video: Kagkatikas Secret, curtesy of Quintessenz

4. RAINBOW ROOM – exploring colour installations

Rainbow room is my university project, where I finally got to get crazy and experiment with colour and space. The concept was very simple: we have a room and a red, green and blue light source pointing in the same spot – mixing together into what we perceive as white light. Only when the viewer comes into the room and intersects the light sources they transform into a rainbow. It is not a brand new concept, as it was inspired by the work of the Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson.

It was amazing to observe the young and the old playing around in the room, interacting and creating living paintings in front of their eyes. They became the artist. Without them, it would be just an empty room. They are the ones who brought the rainbow into it.

Interactive colour installaltion

Rainbow room, project in collaboration with Christine Jonsson, photographer: © Živa Lutman


All the immersive colour art installations give space for a very personal interaction with colour. They create spaces for a full body, sensorial experience, where the viewer can feel/play/interact/experiment with this amazing medium. Most of all, they make us realise that colour is subjective, but it always makes us feel something, it effects our wellbeing.

Why designers should embrace the fact we all see the world of colors differently, interpret and experience them in our own subjective way?

If you have spent hours selecting just the right shade of green for your poster, then to suddenly realise that no one else will see that green in exactly the same way could cause a bit of chaos in our controlling design minds. I can give you a simple way out of this struggle: just embrace the fact, that colour is not a universal language. From a purely artistic point of view, it means that your art and design are fresh and new at every viewing. Every individual, in every type of lighting, whether you are presenting something on a screen, in print, or live, will see a unique piece of art. You can be standing next to someone looking at the same canvas and be having two completely different experiences.

I love colour, because it can make people smile, give energy, joy, and most importantly, it makes people happy. When people have happier minds, the world will be a better place.

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