Rosa Rendl -- Colour Charts


Rosa Rendl, Colour Charts, installation view, 2022


Rosa Rendl, Colour Charts, installation view, 2022


Rosa Rendl, Rouge, 2021, archival pigment print on Hahnemühle Photo Rag Ultra Smooth in Artist’s Frame, 40 x 30 cm, ed. 3 + 2AP


Rosa Rendl, Modefarben der Saison, 2021, archival pigment print on Hahnemühle Photo Rag Ultra Smooth in Artist’s Frame, 51 x 70 cm, ed. 3 + 2AP


Rosa Rendl, Colour Charts, installation view, 2022


Rosa Rendl, Colour Charts, installation view, 2022

Rosa Rendl
Colour Charts
12/03/2022 - 07/05/2022

Rosa Rendl 
Colour Charts 

On view:  March 12– April 30, 2022

“Ocean Drops” and “Homecoming” are patent shades of nail polish. “Steinblaue Schönheit” (an “eggshell blue”) or “Zauber der Wüste” (a “delicate sand beige”), the muted tones brushed across domestic interiors. The colour tints of cosmetics lace each denomination of a product with its own poetic promise of value whilst textiles and yarns are often differentiated according to sober numerical colour codes. Colours represent an integral feature of a product, marking not only a spectral differentiation, but a powerful visual symbol, that opens up associative pathways between aesthetic taste and lifestyle. 

Colour charts, fans and product samples present emotionally charged colour worlds, that communicate a spectrum of significations that can be coalesce in a product that remains the same. As partial surrogate for the product in question, a colour chart stands for a postponed desire, that highlights a preliminary stage of actual consumption. Where sameness prevails, it promises indivualisation, where pre-selection reduces the offer, it suggests limitless choice and diversifies the repertoire of the possible. It epitomises a world that increasingly emphasises individualisation, however all standardized through the ever-progressing currents of globalisation.

Rosa Rendl has collected exemplary colour charts and product samples dating from 1960 to the present day. Her photographs exhibit them as if they were products for a catalogue. These photographs are documentations, recalling repro-photography - factual reproductions of objects in which the camera seems to refrain from any interpretive perspective. The formal orientation and seemingly renunciation of any narrative, accentuates the process of translation of the object into the two-dimensional photographic space, its the abstract creation of the image. The rich hues conveyed by the textile samples, fans and sample images are largely presented in geometric grids. 

Dominant in these shots, typical of classical studio photography, is the cool white background – evoking a neutrality that almost bureaucratises the individuality and extravagance.

In particular, the rupture between the indulgences of colour and the photographically defined suspension, characterises the seemingly prosaic photographs. The works present absent products in the state of their potential, void of conventional commercial form.  Desire realised through them, is captured in a state of suspension, from which a sense of possibility emanates from the work. At the same time, this contained potential, creates a certain melancholy. Nonetheless, the works celebrate a central fundament of photography - colour, as it intricately weaves new realms of possibility, detached from the ramifications and limitations of concrete materiality.

The laconic staging of objects to appear cool or indifferent is typical of Rosa Rendl’s photography. At once drawn in by the pleasure derived from such aesthetic severity, yet left despondent by its clinical dispassion, we are caught somehow in a state of abject fulfilment. As a designer of swimwear, Rendl has dealt intensively with fashion photography, simultaneously appropriating and sublimating the viewership, our gaze, of the product. Materialities and textures feature strongly in her photographic work, however such latently seductive qualities are deliberately muted, slowed down and conceptually superimposed. And yet they are never drowned out - when these alluring attributes of the object seem to be in diffusion, they are at once regrouped and intensified by the force of the opposing elements in rupture. The opulence of the colours, like the sumptuous imagery within a poem, produce a connotative excess that sweeps over the more visual elements of the image. That woos, bewitches and charms them, until colour and word begin to form something altogether new, a something altogether deeply affecting. 


Vanessa Joan Müller

Translated by Georg Kargl Fine Arts