In December last year, just as we were finalising our selection of blue artworks for Monochrome No.2, Pantone announced that the colour of the year 2020 would be Classic Blue – a familiar, calming shade of azure. In times of uncertainty and unrest, it feels reassuring to bring such a recognisable hue into our everyday lives, for blue is a colour we can all rely on. Blue is the colour of the sky and the sea. As such, it is a colour associated with calmness and stability, with the sacred and the divine, one that speaks of happiness and nostalgia at the same time.

As we temporarily close the gallery as a preventive measure against the spread of COVID-19, we still want to be in touch with you. From today and until 25 April, we invite you to follow The Blue Diary, a daily writing project by the team at Ordovas reflecting on the theme of our current exhibition. In recent years, art has been extremely fast and short-lived and the current situation forces us to slow down and invites quiet contemplation of the world around us. This is a diary, a personal compilation of thoughts, an invitation to think about blue, the world’s most loved colour.

A
is for
Azure

“When your eyes first fall upon the Mediterranean you know at once why it was here that man first stood erect and stretched out his arms toward the sun.”  — F. Scott Fitzgerald, How to Live on Practically Nothing A Year, in The Saturday Evening Post, September 1924 In May 1924,…
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B
is for
Blue Period

“Colours like features, follow the changes of the emotions.” — Pablo Picasso as cited by Guillaume Apollinaire in ‘Les Jeunes: Picasso, Peintre’, La Plume, 17 May 1905. English trans. in Apollinaire on Art, 1972.  During his Blue Period, Pablo Picasso explored the full potential of the monochrome producing a body of…
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C
is for
Cyanography

The artistic practice known as cyanography began with the invention of the cyanotype, a distinctive dark blue print, by Sir John Herschel (1792-1871) in 1842. While experimenting with the general effect of light on iron compounds, he discovered that exposure to light turned certain compounds of ferric ammonium citrate and…
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D
is for
Denim

Blue is the world’s favourite colour. We use it everywhere. In fact, right now, as you are reading this, half of all humans are wearing blue jeans, but very few know where they originated from. Arguably one of the most significant fashion innovations of the nineteenth century, blue jeans were invented…
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E
is for
Earth

“It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn’t feel like a giant, I felt very, very small.” — Neil Armstrong, as cited in The People’s Almanac…
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F
is for
Dan Flavin

In May 1996, Don Giulio Greco of the Santa Maria Annunciata Church in Chiesa Rossa, Milan, wrote to the American artist Dan Flavin (1933-1996), whose work he had recently seen at the home of Count Giuseppe Panza in Varese. The neo-Roman style church, designed by the Italian architect Giovanni Muzio…
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G
is for
Felix Gonzalez-Torres

“If a beautiful memory could have a color, that color would be blue.” — Felix Gonzalez-Torres For the artist Felix Gonzalez-Torres (1957-1996), the colour blue was like a happy past, one that could be revisited, but never recovered. I like to think that it was precisely this poignant sentiment that…
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H
is for
The Hope Diamond

The 45.52 carat deep-blue Hope Diamond, perhaps the most famous diamond in the world, carries a fascinating past and has long had rumours of a reputed curse attached to it, possibly fabricated to enhance the stone’s mystery and appeal which have endured for over four centuries. The diamond’s much-admired rare…
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I
is for
IKB

“Blue has no dimensions, it is beyond dimensions.” — Yves Klein, from a lecture given at the Sorbonne in 1959; published in Studio International, Vol. 186 (1973). Yves Klein’s first attempt to capture the infinity of blue can be traced back to one hot, sunny summer day in 1947. While lazing on…
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J
is for
Derek Jarman

Blue light. A spectral light. Leni’s full moon falling through a crystal grotto in the High Dolomites. The villagers draw their curtains against this blue. Blue brings night with it. Once in a blue moon . . . Tacitus tells us of a spectral tattooed army, the Pictish Britons nude…
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K
is for
Joseph Kosuth

276. But don’t we at least mean something quite definite when we look at a colour and name our colour impression? It is as if we detached the colour impression from the object, like a membrane. (This ought to arouse our suspicions.) — Joseph Kosuth, 276. (On Color Blue), 1990, Brooklyn…
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L
is for
Lapis Lazuli

The deep-blue colour of lapis lazuli has been prized since antiquity for its intense hue. The first known use of the semi-precious stone as a pigment can be traced back to sixth and seventh century BCE wall paintings in Bamiyan, Afghanistan. Thereafter, the blue was reserved for the most precious…
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M
is for
Joan Miró

“This is the colour of my dreams.” — Joan Miró, 1925 This painting has always been one of my favourites, perhaps because I have always been drawn to the colour and to this period in Miró’s work. It was painted in 1925, also the year when he first met Pilar…
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N
is for
Maggie Nelson

Suppose I were to begin by saying that I had fallen in love with a color. Suppose I were to speak this as though it were a confession; suppose I shredded my napkin as we spoke. It began slowly. An appreciation, an affinity. Then, one day, it became more serious. Then (looking into…
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O
is for
Ocean

“If the ocean dies, we all die.” — Captain Paul Watson Life in the oceans provides over half the oxygen we breathe. As our largest climate regulators, oceans cover 71 per cent of our Earth and contain 97 per cent of the Earth’s water. Not only are the oceans absolutely…
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P
is for
Jackson Pollock

“I’m a little representational all the time. But when you’re painting out of your unconscious, figures are bound to emerge” — Jackson Pollock Our current exhibition Monochrome No.2 showcases a 1938 blue drawing by Jackson Pollock that rouses curiosity the more one looks at it. Filled with abstract forms, the…
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R
is for
Edward Ruscha

“I wasn’t captivated by the romance of Paris or London. I love visiting, but I’d rather be in L.A.” — Edward Ruscha 10 FUN FACTS ABOUT ED-WERD REW-SHAY As a young man, his attention-grabbing business card was printed with his name pronounced phonetically ‘ED-WERD REW-SHAY’ (addressing the issue of mispronunciation),…
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S
is for
Sky

On a summer’s day in 1947, three young men were sitting on the beach in Nice. To pass the time they decided to play a game and divide up the world between them. One chose the animal kingdom, another the province of plants. The third man opted for the mineral…
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T
is for
Cy Twombly

“I had my freedom, and that was nice.” — Cy Twombly The immense blue ceiling, painted by Cy Twombly above the Louvre’s Salle des Bronzes Antiques extends beyond dimension, its vast 344-square-metre surface a true celebration of magnificent colour. Twombly completed the abstract frescoed ceiling in 2010, and today it…
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U
is for
Ultramarine

In 1967, Mr Arthur Lucas, the world’s supreme expert in painting restoration, was undertaking a daring experiment on one of Titian’s most famous paintings. Bacchus and Ariadne, executed between 1520 and 1523, had entered the collections of London’s National Gallery in 1826. The painting had been travelling for three centuries, from…
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Y
is for
YInMn

In 2009, Oregon State University chemist Mas Subramanian and his graduate student Andrew E. Smith were exploring novel materials for electronics applications. As part of their experiments, Subramanian asked Smith to heat a mixture of the elements yttrium, indium and manganese to approximately 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. To their great surprise,…
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A Blue Playlist
for the Weekend

In honour of Monochrome No.2 and The Blue Diary, we put together some “blue” songs for you to enjoy this weekend. From classic blues to nostalgic folk to lively rock, each playlist has a little something different. We hope you’ll feel inspired, enlivened, soothed, or at the very least have…
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A Film List
for the Weekend

In the spirit of our exhibition Monochrome No.2 and The Blue Diary, we put together a list of our favorite “blue” movies. From 1940s classics to art house films and contemporary action movies, we hope you’ll find something to make you laugh, cry, keep you in suspense, and provide some…
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A Reading List
for the Weekend

As part of The Blue Diary, we put together a selection of texts that inspired our current exhibition, Monochrome No.2. We hope they’ll bring you some inspiration as well. Happy reading, and happy weekend! The Art of Color by Johannes Itten, 1961 Blue: Cobalt to Cerulean in Art and Culture…
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