Red

Text by Heidi Schmeiser

David Spriggs’ installation RED examines the particular symbolic, perceptual, social, political, and historical connotations attached to the colour of the same name. Designed in particular for Trafacka Hall, Prague, RED fills the expanse of the former power station with majestic power not just by its scale, but also by immersing the whole interior in a rich red glow. In keeping with the graffiti culture that is associated with Trafacka, RED is created with Spriggs’ unique style of airbrushing paint onto layered sheets of transparent plastic film. For this installation, the colour itself is objectified.

Upon first entering the viewing area, the audience is given the impression that they are standing before a massive red cloud of smoke. Once the realization sets in that the object is unchanging, suspended in space, one begins to consider the artist’s choice of subject matter and its relationship to the ephemeral nature of colour. Making use of the impressive height of Trafacka hall, RED is intended to be experienced from multiple levels and angles within the space. The three-dimensional aspect that is characteristic of Spriggs’ artwork is transformed with RED into an examination of colour-through-space. Spriggs’ monochromatic installation alludes to the historical tradition of red as a symbol for blood and the physical body. These symbolic elements can be paralleled to the building of Trafacka, a structure whose ‘life expectancy’ and eventual destruction ever hang in the balance. Above all, however, viewers cannot ignore the social and political symbolism of the colour used in this site-specific installation and its reference to revolution.