Work From The Color Wheel Series
521 W 21st Street
NEW YORK—The Paula Cooper Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of new work by Adrian Piper. This work will be on view at 521 West 21st Street from 30 November 2000 through 6 January 2001.
Entitled The Color Wheel Series, First Adhyasa: Annomayakosha, this exhibition is the first segment in a series of five installments. The color wheel refers to a device by the same name used for the display of the Pantone Matching System®, an international “color language” employed in printing and publishing. Upon completion of the project, all 1,010 Pantone Colors will be distributed among a total of 335 images in print, reproduction, or website form.
Piper integrates the spectrum of the Pantone System with tenets of Hindu Vedantic philosophy in order to examine color as an “illusory superimposition,” or adhyasa. According to Vedanta, ultimate reality is concealed beneath five koshas, layers of illusion which must be peeled away in order to attain self-knowledge.
The show consists of 24 light-jet photographic prints measuring approximately 56 by 36 inches each. Arced at their tops, these prints resemble Eastern mandalas, featuring the Hindu god Shiva inside a Fire Wheel, an excerpt of a Vedantic text in Sanskrit, and three human figures, or “Acting Heads” who “hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil” (a recurring motif in Piper’s work). Directly below Shiva’s wheel is a Target Wheel aimed at the central figure of the “Acting Head” paradigm.
In a systematic fashion, the skin color of each Acting Head varies throughout the series, following a procedure whereby each of the three Heads is assigned one specific Pantone Color. As a result, each print is unique, with no Pantone Color repeated more than once.
Piper thus establishes a specific methodology through which the viewer can investigate the subjective, constructed nature of color. The imagery of Eastern philosophy and religion operates not only on a formal level but also as a conceptual device to reveal the superimposition on the self of illusions such as caste, color, and status.
The exhibition announcement card constitutes work #1 of the series, and the prints works #2-25. Works #26 and #27 are at Piper’s website.