HD Video, colour, silent.


In this work the artist breathed on to a sheet of glass, producing repeated patterns of condensation.  Each pass was colourised so that the sequence taken as a whole is in the order of the colours of the rainbow: Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet.    These colours spread suddenly out over the screen like ink spilt on a sheet of paper.  Then, unexpectedly, they fade away again.


The fog that forms on the glass is made from tiny droplets of exhaled water.  In a meteorological phenomenon so familiar it needs no introduction, similar droplets in mist or rain refract sunlight like prisms.   These prisms split the light into its constituent colours - rainbows.

The rainbow has come to be a widely accepted symbol of unity for many, and in 2020 has been adopted all over to express solidarity for people affected by the COVID pandemic and racial injustice.


The murky hues in this video work, though, strike a more pessimistic note than the bright primary colours in an archetypal rainbow.   They are a minor key reminder that, beyond the unity that many strive for, people’s breath everywhere remains impacted by deep divisions in social class, ethnicity, and nationality.


Breath's Imprint is showing as part of the "Interactions of Colour: Little Works, Big on Colour" group show at The Royal Glasgow Institute of Fine Art Kelly Gallery until the 29th January 2021.


Watch Breath's Imprint here.


Looped.  Duration 1'44".

Website and all images and text, unless otherwise attributed, © 2020 Paul Holmes.