Karl Gerstner: The forms of colour (1986)

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25/03/10 – In his book, The forms of colour, Karl Gerstner examines the complex interaction between colour and form and develops his own system: ‘The Colour Form Model.’

He begins by reviewing existing graphical colour spaces and form systems. These include, among others, perspective, topologies, fractals and – thanks to a simple hand-drawn pattern obtained from a Moroccan craftsman – the basic structural components of Islamic art.

He discusses the theory of forms developed by Wilhelm Ostwald in 1922 – a theory, like the Moroccan craftsman’s pattern, which provides an endless supply of formal variations, all based on a rational system. He also introduces artist Hans Hinterreiter who developed a system for closed (planar) forms and, in turn, colour.

Against this background, Gerstner outlines his own examination of the colour-form relationship. He begins with Kandinsky’s well known metaphysical ideas on the correspondence between colour and form: square=red, triangle=yellow, circle=blue.

He reevaluates Kandinsky’s findings and introduces a system of ‘Colour Signs’. Next, with the help of computer programming, Gerstner further develops the system yielding new primary forms: astroid, diagon and sinuon and establishes what he calls ‘The Colour Form Model.’

Illustrations show the development of the system, its variations and even a few sculptural works.

Gerstner concludes by opening up discussion to the possibilities of correspondence with other sensory modes, i.e., aural and tactile, and provides a range of examples from various significant sources.

Selections from Karl Gerstner’s The forms of colour:

The forms of colour

The forms of colour

The forms of colour

The forms of colour

The forms of colour

The forms of colour

The forms of colour

The forms of colour

The forms of colour

The forms of colour

The forms of colour

The forms of colour

The forms of colour

The forms of colour

Images on Flickr//
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2 Responses to “Karl Gerstner: The forms of colour (1986)”

  1. kitty beta says:

    Super nice.

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Oliver Tomas

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