View of “Purkinje Effect,” 2013.

View of “Purkinje Effect,” 2013.

“Purkinje Effect”

Galerie 1900-2000

View of “Purkinje Effect,” 2013.

Organized by artist Laurent Grasso, “Purkinje Effect” took the idea of “dark adaptation” in color perception and used it as a curatorial conceit. The Purkinje effect refers to the way in which the eye’s relative receptivity to different colors changes according to the light, so that as our environment grows darker, we become more sensitive to shades of blue. This may explain why the gallery walls were painted a deep Prussian blue and the exhibition title rendered as an icy neon sign. The works Grasso selected, ranging (except for a couple of his own paintings) from the late-nineteenth to mid-twentieth centuries, appeared aged yet, thanks to the artist’s exhibition design, luminous.

The starting point for the show, according to Grasso’s exhibition statement, was the dramatist Victorien Sardou’s etching Quartier des Animaux chez Zoroastre de Bernard Palissy (Zoroaster’s Animal Quarters

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