Author(s): Spike Bucklow
Red grabs your attention. Today we associate red with danger, sex, anger and more, yet the colour was once so significant that things which have a profound impact upon our lives were widely called red, even though they are often not red at all.Spike Bucklow takes us from a 34,000-year-old shaman burial dress to the iPhone screen, exploring the myriad of purposes we have put red to as well as the materials from which it comes. The pursuit of the colour drove medieval alchemy and modern chemistry alike, and red has been found in insects, tree resins, tar, earths and excitable gases. It is associated with earth, blood and fire, with the holy, with national flags and powerful ideologies.Red is a material and cultural history that makes one see this colour afresh, a crucial part of the human visual world.
Part material history, part cultural inquiry, Bucklow s fine book traces the origins and applications of the reds that have surrounded us since humans first sought to apply the color to their habitats and their bodies. Above all it reminds us that red is never a simple matter. Red is mysterious and it is fugitive: often difficult to make and to make fast, it is equally slippery in the human imagination. From red mists to red herrings by way of red lines and red rags, it is perhaps the most unquiet and unsettling colour of all. --David Batchelor, author of the Luminous and the Grey"
Spike Bucklow is Senior Research Scientist at the Hamilton Kerr Institute, University of Cambridge. His other publications include The Alchemy of Paint (2009) and The Riddle of the Image: The Secret Science of Medieval Art (Reaktion, 2014), which won the ACE/Mercers' International Book Award 2015.