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Work of the Week | 30 May 2022

CAG.3133 Michael Hanna, A Living Colour Index, 2020, photographs (series of 49). Purchased, 2021. © the artist.


A Living Colour Index (2020) by Michael Hanna comprises a series of forty-nine photographs saturated in colour.

Produced in response to the sense of how days and weeks blended together during the first COVID-19 lockdown, the artist lit the interior of his home with a different colour each week, moving through the spectrum from red to violet. The colours ‘provided a new sensory living environment within the same space,’ as the artist considers, ‘testing the idea that novel experiences play a part in memory formation and, in turn, set the parameters for our experience of time.’

Red Wednesday” from A Living Colour Index, 2020, photograph. © the artist.

Red Wednesday” from A Living Colour Index, 2020, photograph. © the artist.

Hanna’s imagery ranges from wide shots of his home’s interior, with signs of working from home and binge-watching television, to family pets, curious details, and takeaway meals. The monotony of routine is, however, disrupted by the shifting colour saturation, while the artist also pairs the photographs with choice quotations from his reading, as in ‘Blue Wednesday’ which is paired with the words of Barbara Kruger: ‘I think architecture is one of the predominant orderings of social space. It can construct and contain experiences. It defines our days and nights. It literally puts us in our place.’

Reflecting on A Living Colour Index, which recently joined the National Collection, Hanna notes that ‘I was keen to do something durational that responded to the feeling I was having of losing track of days during that initial period of lockdown.’

Michael Hanna (b.1979) has exhibited widely and recently completed a residency at Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris. He is also a co-founder of AMINI, an artist-led initiative for the promotion and critical discussion of artists’ moving image in Northern Ireland.

A Living Colour Index (2020) by Michael Hanna is featured in SATURATION: the everyday transformed (Lower & Upper Galleries) until 26 June. Open daily | Free entry.

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