Ultramarine


Project in development


Ultramarine is a visual poem narrating exile blues through spoken word performance, an essay in repoliticizing one of the most universal colors. Objects and documents are rendered in words by the Afro-American poet Kain, voiced in music by drummer Lander Gyselinck, and animated in images by film director Vincent Meessen. Extraordinary, travelling and local items roam around the sculptural installation designed in collaboration with textile designer Diane Steverlynck.

 

"So far, all that has given color to existence still lacks a history"

Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science

 

Ultramarine refers to a deep blue pigment but also to overseas regions, is a visual poem constructed from carefully chosen historical objects. It is a film connected to an eponymous sculptural artwork. The project has been commissioned by the Printemps de septembre (Toulouse, France) and will be premiered in september 2018 in this city historically connected both to 'pastel' blue pigment and to the 'Gay Science' of the troubadours. It will later travel for two upcoming solo shows in Montreal (Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery) and Toronto (Power Plant), each of them being site-specific shows.


The film is a narrated exhibition featuring Kain The Poet (KTP) – also known as Gylan Kain, the afro-american poet and creator of the mythic 1970 album Blue Guerilla. He narrates the film through spoken word performance, alluding to the rich tradition of the exile blues and travelling troubadours who orally spread their stories to other lands and people. The music is composed and performed by the composer and drummer Lander Gyselinck.


Ultramarine is composed like a spectrum: it unfolds and intertwines fragments of meaning. This narrative form creates the possibility of connecting Kain’s exceptional universe of spoken phrases and objects to a larger frame of thought: museum objects and artworks from Toulouse. These objects, connected with the double thematic sense of ‘ultramarine’ (colonies, slave trade, exile, pastel and indigo color, and all their nuances) are put in dialogue with props and reproductions of art works that surround Kain in his Amsterdam exile since the 1980s. In the film, they are animated through cinematic movements, spoken word, and musical rhythms. As a visual score, the color spectrum ‘plays’ the image, and on the rhythm of blue notes the film’s photography mediates on nuances of blue.


Like the shifting layers of color in the film’s image, the narrative of the exhibition display, a modular sculpture allowing the presentation of a selection of documents, objects and works,  offers shifting layers of meaning.