günther selichar

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who’s afraid of blue, red and green? 1

Who’s Afraid of Blue, Red and Green? – Zip/Zap, Detail, 1996/97

Double acrylic glass, filled with color pigment, 230 x 90 cm
Collection Tiroler Landesmuseum Ferdinandeum, Innsbruck (A)

Photo: Luzia Ellert, Wien

Christoph Doswald

„Who’s Afraid of Blue, Red and Green?“ is an incomplete work series, which Selichar started in 1990; it discusses the most elementary conditions of images - the mediatized and painted images likewise. In this context, the artist operates with the interplay of analogy and deviation.1
„Who’s Afraid of Blue, Red and Green?“ refers to a work of the Colourfield-painter Barnett Newman. In order to contrast the modernist dogma of the de-Stijl-artist with a freed colour effect, he had painted, at the end of the sixties, a work series titled „Whos Afraid of Blue, Red and Green?“, consisting of four pictures: pictures in increasing formats that confront the primary colours of painting in vertical stripes with each
other. The, by Selichar practiced deviation, derives from the frame conditions of the television picture - or the primary colours of other mass media such as colour photography, of the video and film. Whereas the painted picture, referred to by Newman, is composed of „pure“ colours, the television picture constitutes itself with the help of the combinated green. Here, the auratising of painting through pure colours, there the bastardising of the television through - in terms of painting - combination colours; (...)

As second analogue functions the image- and colour field proportions, which Selichar uses in this work scene: from the first standardized television frame format to a virtual panorama television format up to the cinemascope format, all frame sizes, which are available for the present-day eye as standardized frame conditions. With the visualizing of the workaday perspective, the artist not only infiltrates the aesthetical paradigm of the golden section, of the idealized since „natural“ format conditions, but also determines to what an extent the new media have departed from the roots of the picture. (...)

By filling the pigment into plexiglas doubling EGP slats (double, stayed acrilic glass), the artist not only invents a new bonding agent, but also suggests, through the striped layering, the net structure of the television monitor. Selichar applies the reverse method of the mediatization in terms of Baudrillard: practised in the reversal of the image derivation a continuously transforming self-adulation, that despite of its conceptional
concision hardly makes possible apparent self referentialness and associative logic, but on the contrary refers to the accelerating relativity of cause and effect of our consciousness when dealing with (art)-images.

1see: Uli Bohnen, „Between and Across the Media, Naturally!“, in: Günther Selichar, Who’s Afraid of Blue, Red and Green?,
Salzburg / Valencia 1993 / 94, S.14.


From: Christoph Doswald: Der Ursprung des Bildes - G. Selichar. In: Reisen an die Grenzen der Malerei. Catalogue. (Essen: Museum Folkwang, 1996) and Norbert Pfaffenbichler, Sandro Droschl: Abstraction Now. (Graz: Edition Camera Austria, 2004).