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Lose Yourself Inside a 10,000-Square-Foot Rainbow

A new light installation in Bristol transforms an office building into a work of art.

What's better than tasting the rainbow? UK artist Liz West's new installation for the Bristol Biennial lets 10,000 ft2 of rainbow taste you.

Enter the gaping maw of Our Colour, West's response to her own breakout 2015 installation Your Colour Perception, and you'll be engulfed within the spectrum. West's work dominates an entire floor of a Bristol office building-turned-creative space called The Pithay, transforming its harsh fluorescents with colored theater gels.

West has specific requirements for a space to ensure her work pops. Carpetless floors, white walls with blacked out windows, and blank columns tend to reflect light with the most pizzazz, and she spent months inspecting locations over FaceTime with Bristol Biennial organizers before settling on The Pithay. "Many office spaces that were built within the last 30 years seem to fit this brief perfectly when emptied of desks and other office paraphernalia," she tells The Creators Project. "The curved space at The Pithay lends itself beautifully to demonstrating color, as we naturally associate a curve of colour with the rainbow."

Our Colour, Liz West, 2016, Site-specific light installation (T5 fluorescent bulbs, cellulose gels), Image courtesy of the artist

Visitors are drenched in rich reds, solemn blues, and vibrant yellows as they walk through Our Colour, which West says can deeply affect their headspace. “Most people rarely have the experience of being completely immersed in pure color. I observe that after moving through the space—walking, running, dancing—and experiencing every color, people often go back to the color they find most comfortable; they will then stand, sit or lay there for some time to reflect,” she says.

West's work also comes with an educational mission. Since launching Your Colour Perception last year, she's also created large-scale commissions for the UK's National Media Museum and Natural History Museum, as well as the 20-21 Visual Arts Center. Our Colour looks to the past, detailing the history of color theory, from Isaac Newton to Josef Albers, on an accompanying plaque.

Our Colour, Liz West, 2016, Site-specific light installation (T5 fluorescent bulbs, cellulose gels), Image courtesy of the artist

"People thought that color was a mixture of light and darkness, and that prisms colored the light. This theory of color had a scale that went from brilliant red, which was pure white light with the least amount of darkness added, to dull blue, the last step before black, which was the complete extinction of light by darkness. Newton realized this theory was false," reads a portion of the text.

Her new installation also points toward the future as the pinnacle of the techniques she's been developing over years of work. She explains, "Our Colour is more refined [than Your Colour Perception] in every aspect of its creation. Its uses better products, has been planned for longer, and is in a bigger space." See the instensity of color West is able to create in the images below.

Our Colour, Liz West, 2016, Site-specific light installation (T5 fluorescent bulbs, cellulose gels), Image courtesy of the artist

Our Colour, Liz West, 2016, Site-specific light installation (T5 fluorescent bulbs, cellulose gels), Image courtesy of the artist

Our Colour, Liz West, 2016, Site-specific light installation (T5 fluorescent bulbs, cellulose gels), Image courtesy of the artist

Our Colour, Liz West, 2016, Site-specific light installation (T5 fluorescent bulbs, cellulose gels), Image courtesy of the artist

Our Colour, Liz West, 2016, Site-specific light installation (T5 fluorescent bulbs, cellulose gels), Image courtesy of the artist

Our Colour, Liz West, 2016, Site-specific light installation (T5 fluorescent bulbs, cellulose gels), Image courtesy of the artist

Our Colour, Liz West, 2016, Site-specific light installation (T5 fluorescent bulbs, cellulose gels), Image courtesy of the artist

Our Colour, Liz West, 2016, Site-specific light installation (T5 fluorescent bulbs, cellulose gels), Image courtesy of the artist

Our Colour, Liz West, 2016, Site-specific light installation (T5 fluorescent bulbs, cellulose gels), Image courtesy of the artist

See more of Liz West's work on her website.

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