In the Room for One Colour

What a fun day at the national gallery taught me.

Dave Tan
Dave Tan
Feb 13, 2020 · 3 min read
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“Room for one colour” by Olafur Eliasson. Photo taken by author.

“Let’s go to an art exhibition!”, my sister exclaimed.

“What art exhibition?”, I mumbled.

“Minimalism: Space. Light. Object at the National Gallery Singapore. Come on, I bet you will like it!”

My sister was right. I have no regrets on that day.

The exhibition we went to, “Minimalism: Space. Light. Object.”, was filled with numerous artworks from the minimalism art movement throughout history.

There were many people posting on their Instagram about their experience with pictures of the different art installations. I was not convinced about how good the exhibition was until my sister brought me there.

There was one particular artwork that caught my attention when I stepped into the room. It is called “Room for One Colour” by Olafur Eliasson. I find it intriguing and it is an unforgettable experience.

This has got to be one of the coolest rooms I ever walked into because I could not get my mind around it.

Monofrequency lamps were mounted to the ceiling of an enclosed white room that emit yellow light that reduces the visible spectral range to yellow and black. Everything and everyone turns monochrome in this room.

My eyes took a while to adjust to it as I saw my sister in greyscale, staring back at me in a funny expression that indicates, “What is going on?”. We were in awe.

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Portrait of author’s sister in “Room for one colour”. Photo taken by author.

We stayed in the room for about ten minutes, observing how everything has become shades of grey. When I walked out of the room with colours exploding back into my vision again, I finally got it.

Our perspective can really change based on the environment we are in. It is not fixed and we can see the world from so many different angles.

At that moment in time, the experience really speaks to me. Until now, the experience is still stuck with me. I became more wary of my environment, knowing that it can affect how I see the world and myself.

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Portrait of author in “Room for one colour”. Photo taken by author’s sister.

Sometimes, we are stuck in our room for one colour in our heads and this causes us to be close-minded. This creates a disconnect and we find it hard to see in another perspective. Our vision turns greyscale and all we see is one colour and one perspective.

When someone challenged our beliefs and values that were shaped by the environment we are in, we tend to be defensive and shut off from their opinions, just like the monofrequency lamps that reduce the colours in the room.

If we could open our heart and walk out of our own rooms with one colour, I believe the world will be a better place as we become better people. Life will be filled with vibrant colours again and endless possibilities.

OK journal

Reflections and insights on life.

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