ON PINK PHENOMENA

Pink controversy
everything on pink on pink flower

While we were creating our 'Pink Rhapsody' series of paintings, we had no idea that we were stepping into a minefield. It was not until we put them out in the open, that we discovered the controversy of this particular color. Boy, did pink sent out strange signals! Not that this in any way held us back, it has been astonishing to see how many people have little regard for pink. And to our shock, we discovered that it is sometimes even subject to taboos. The strong impact of pink lies in the fact that it remains unspoken.

The immense power of color pink springs from the fact that no other color addresses us with such intensity that it poses a genuine challenge to our emotions. No doubt, it is one of the most vigorously rejected colors of them all. The reasons why so many people reject pink vary, depending upon historical and cultural factors, social implications, as well as personal experience.

Some don't want to be perceived as sensitive, tender, gentle, friendly, romantic, feminine, naive dreamer or any other qualities this color is associated with. Some fear that it could make them appear small and ridiculous. Some simply can't handle the subtle connotations of it. For others it has something to do with hostility to the pleasures of life or to the urge to having everything under control. Someone who is not the object of seduction is likely to reject pink color because it frightens, embarrasses or is unpleasant. It takes courage to recognize feelings. Not all of us can do that. Pink is capable of separating those who can from those who cannot.

Red color represent passion, whereas the pink color represents the spiritual and emotional realm of love. No wonder that all those out of love can't come to terms with such pleasurable color. Like Venus, sex goddesses of all ages have had inkling toward the color of pink. Marilyn Monroe singed "Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend" in a pink dress, as well as Madonna with the "Material Girl". Favorite color of Madame Pompadour, the mistress of Louis XV of France, was no other than pink. They were not afraid of color pink, instead they used it to their advantage.

Who's afraid of pink?
 

Genders respond to pink differently, most men reject pink categorically. They are under false impression pink would diminish their masculinity, or take away their potency, or make them look weak. They are just afraid of it. No other color does that to people. That's why pink color is such a great weapon. One that repels without being repellent. You can paint your club in pink, and be sure no Osama or Sadam will come by. Probably no imbalanced army generals would either, or bikers, or any other of the sort. Pink repels aggressive people. And aggressive people reject pink. American prisons use the very color in their special cells - 'Bubblegum pink chambers'. Pink is supposed to calm and soothe aggressive prisoners.

Pink is often viewed as kitschy or even vulgar, cheap, tasteless, artificial or superficial, resulting from an inappropriate context.

The acceptance of pink color in the eyes of the public is subject to a course of cultural evolution. A growing tolerance toward pink appears to take stage in recent years. Its increasing popularity as a modern color in recent years may be attributable to its challenging and controversial qualities.

 
What happens through pink

Pink may be perceived as:

sensitive
tender
youthful
artificial
unreal
eccentric
sweet
vulnerable
pleasurable
delicate
smooth
transient
light
rare
dream-like
extravagant
gentleness
friendliness
eroticism
the unreal
fantastic
naive
ideal
subtle
innocent
provocative

The scale of social attitudes toward pink runs to extremes. The ambivalence and ambiguity often associated with pink comes from widely differing emotional responses to it. It generates more contradictions than practically any other color. It tends to polarize.

While some perceive it as most appealing  and enjoyable, others see it as unpleasant and embarrassing. Pink may lead some to condition of intimacy, closeness, peaceful contentment, happiness, and a mild form of ecstasy, while others feel offended by it. Pink can be easily seen as a violation of a taboo, an insult even. Pink is subversive and revealing. The various shades of meaning associated with pink include intimacy, secrecy, and privacy.

Those with their feet firm in the ground, resent the pink for being the color of fantastic. Like no other color, pink takes the role as means of achieving distance from reality. Pink is unobjective, but objectivity is only one part of life. With Pink Panther, pink represents breaking free from boundaries of reality and traditional norms whose time is up. Animal becomes less animal-like. A fierce creature becomes cute even. As anything that takes this tender color, it becomes softer and more likable. It enhances the sensitive, delicate character of the individual.

Pink is definitely  the color that makes everything lighter. Pink is what you get when you bring bright white to red. It takes away the aggressive qualities from reds, and from anything else for that matter. In the mind of the public, pink has grown up to be a color that demonstrates difference, to set something apart from conventional image. Buildings with pink facades represent attempts to evoke a sense of the extraordinary.

pink panther
sakura

Pink is not in the standard color wheels, not a spectral color of the rainbow, and rarely appears in nature. We can see it sometimes at dawn and sunset. Funny enough, pink appears when light emerges or fades, the sign of both the beginning and ending of a day. Maybe it is this fleeting manifestation that counts for the pink's ambivalence, so inherent in its nature. Pink is fleeting, not only as a color of light, but also as it appears as the color of blossoms. When a day blossoms, somewhere on the planet at dawn, clouds and the skies show themselves in a pinkish glow.  In Japan, pink is associated with the blooming of the cherry blossoms (sakura). Fleeting character is manifested in that the pink blossoms fall like snowflakes after but a few days, leaving the spectators to their conclusions: nothing lasts, everything is transitory, as this beauty, so maybe the problems too. Pink alludes mortality through its association with the transient nature of life. Pink in the skies anticipate also the shift to milder temperatures. It is the color of spring and plants in bloom.

Blossoms lure the insects with their color and fragrance, and so do the women dressed in pink, like the flowers waiting to be picked. Ladies use pink to heighten their sexual appeal, or rather their sex appeal is heightened because of the use of pink. The word Eros is an anagram of rose. It's no coincidence that pink plays an important role in the erotics. There's no Garden of Eden without pink roses. The paradisiacal, amorous connotations of pink is ever so evident in the mythical narratives concerning the origin of the rose color.

Long live pink!
Historically speaking, pink has embodied longing, promise and the hope of fulfillment in all eras. It has related to the themes of Romantic art, as well as Rococo, Art Nouveau and many other. It has often served as means to provoke. In the 50's pink could be regarded as emblematic. Edith Piaf's 'La vie en rose' is a yearning for life in perfect beauty (represented with pink) that's an ideal. 60's and their pop art need no introduction. Andy Warhol's portraits speak for themselves. Psychedelic 70's exhibited a certain preference for "shocking" pink. Not a coincidence that in that decade rock classic "Think Pink" gained immense popularity.
What will become of pink in this day and age remains to be seen. One is clear, no matter what, pink will stay true to its pinkness. The question is whether we are going to stay true to our pinkness. The answers is in each of us, probably differing one from another, just as pink would want it. After all, it's in its nature to provoke ambivalence, is it not?
warhol - monroe
Secret color code

PINK TANK
by David Černư

In an art action in 1991, the Czech artist David Černý painted a Soviet tank pink on the base of a monument. The tank was a memorial to the first Soviet tank which came to Prague in May of 1945.

It's a dramatic way of changing a symbol of harmfulness and war to demonstrate harmlessness and peace quality.

Today it is exhibited in the Museum of Aviation Kbely

With pink, artists take a stand.
It's OK for raspberry yogurt, strawberry ice cream and lipstick shades to be made into pink, but in the eyes of many, it's not OK for the works of art. Those who admire the beauty of roses, lotus blossoms, Mediterranean carnations, tulips, orchids, corals, seashells, marine snails' shells in all their pink glory, still somehow can't appreciate the color in its artistic manifestation. That's the beauty of it. This is where artists can take the challenge and bring a new value to the world. This is the case of precious color becoming invaluable when used in the context of art, as conventional aspects are highly regarded. Just the opposite of the usual art bearing, where a worthless material becomes valuable when used in the context of art, as aspects other than conventional ones are discovered and appreciated.

There is a secret color code indeed, but it wouldn't be a secret if we would reveal it, wouldn't it? Just what that might be remains in the fourth dimension, a dimension where symbolism attached to colors and images reign. As with anything that is limited to the three-dimensional view, pink too is only questionable color to those that dare not step into the fourth dimension. You won't find pink in hell, only in paradise.


Reference: "Pink - The Exposed Color In Contemporary Art and Culture" by Berbara Nemitz

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