Red, orange, yellow, blue, green, indigo and violet are the colors of the iris. Joe Tilson, Chris Burden, Allen Jones, Victor Pasmore, Leonardo Cremonini, Jiri Kolar and Arturo Carmassi have represented one of them on each of the famous Bolaffi covers of the ’70s.
Red is commonly associated with passion, energy, blood and strength. The controversial Allen Jones, famous for his Furniture Works (furniture elements shaped by female bodies), represents him with the inquisitive look of a young woman, almost a modern Red Capuchin who has no fear of the wolf.
On the chromatic spectrum of the rainbow, the red follows the orange, and Chris Burden’s lively imagination gave it a dramatic interpretation: two X that go into the fire. The cruel light of the flame seems to recall the Ku Klux Klan’s robbers and refers to Burden’s poetics, which has always focused on the critical analysis of the mechanisms of power, money and technology.
The Arturo Carmassi Yellow faithfully reflects the energetic and luminous nature of the color: it sits on the cover’s surface and is engraved with the abstract signs that distinguished the painter’s artistic research in the ’70s.
Iris colors: green, blue and violet
Jiří Kolář is the author of the Green cover, in which an anchor frames an exotic scene. Known for both poems and collages, the Czech artist intended to influence the viewer’s life by using fragments of text and images to highlight the fragmentation of the surrounding world.
The color of the sky, which is associated with serenity and calm, was represented by Joe Tilson through one of his famous labyrinths. His Blue almost resembles a puzzle of letters and paths to follow.
The definition of the light spectrum visible to man is due to Isaac Newton. However, he chose the number seven based on the esoteric theory of the connection between colors, musical notes, planets (then they only knew seven) and days of the week. For this reason, and because of the difficulty for the human eye to distinguish it from violet, indigo has sometimes been considered as a “comfortable” intruder among the colors of the iris. In spite of these considerations, however, it is the protagonist of the Boraffi cover by Victore Pasmore, which makes it an abstract sign crossing it from side to side.
The violet, or the last of the colors of iris that are visible to the naked eye (for the following ones we speak of “ultraviolet”) is often linked to the power of the kings and to the idea of metamorphosis or renewal.
Leonardo Cremonini gives an intimate depiction, linked to psychological realism and symbolic evocations that characterize his style.