Context colours diversity

However different the seventy or more bars may be that Frank Bezemer has created in recent years, they are all captured, or perhaps better said: encapsulated, within a single system. A system that is deeply rooted in Frank’s conviction that ‘diversity is beautiful.’ And the same interpretation may certainly be applied within a societal context.

As a starting point for diversity, Frank chooses the colours for which one word exists in the Dutch language: blue, brown, yellow, grey, green, orange, purple white and black. Rose (the Dutch word for pink) is excluded because it sounds too French.

For the artist, the next matter is to decide how these colours should be combined; and thus it becomes a question of form. It is André Cadere who, with his “Round Bar of Wood”, inspires Frank. Not only by using the bar as his form, but also by his systematic approach to arranging its components.

Each bar is divided into 28 segments, with the height of each segment always equal to the diameter. The length of the bar depends on the thickness of the branch from which the bar is made. The 28 parts are the result of the system in which the colours are arranged on the bar. The centre of the bar contains the ten colours whose names are arranged alphabetically. First four, and then two of these ten colours are mirrored on both sides and interrupted in fixed places by the colour at the front or back of the series of ten colours. Within this approach, Frank permits one error in each bar to break the dictatorship of the system.

Naturally, the art academy impressed upon Frank that an artist should be original, but the direction that Cadere points to regarding this question is too convincing to ignore: the bar as a vertical painting, in which Frank can add his colours as a cohesive whole, thus expressing the beauty of diversity.

There is still another step to go. From personal preference to organized coincidence, from an arbitrary to a systematic approach, because diversity only gains colour in cohesion. Beyond this, indifference rules. Which is why Frank has designed a system that defines how the colours should be arranged on the bar. The system gives Frank a guideline for working freely, without having to think about choosing between green or red, blue or brown.

Once the basic colours, the shape, and the system have been determined, Frank can concentrate purely on the colour nuances. Also, by literally changing language, he is able to alter the sequence of the colours, thereby giving each bar a different identity, just as each language also expresses its own individuality.

Frank glues the segments of the first bar together. This also makes the final result a gamble, however, as once affixed, the bar is a given. Since Frank also wants to view the bars as an artist, and although it is not the order but the colours that he wants to be able to nuance as such, the bars become dismantlable, so that corrections are still possible; the parts are connected using dowels and wire ends.

Although the system initially serves as his guideline, in time Frank comes up against the limitations of the choices he has made. He thus becomes fascinated in the streetscape by the never-before-seen colour combinations in the Somali women’s clothing. But he is unable to translate this within his system, which he developed for the precise purpose of expressing his starting principle ‘diversity is beautiful’. One initial way around this is to make the leap to English, which has its own descriptor for the Dutch word rose: pink. He also replaces yellow with gold. This enables him to enrich and deepen the colour palette available to him.