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Watercolor on recycled cotton paper, colorblind glasses, printed PVC mounted on wood

Variable Dimensions

Aqueous Humor was an installation at the optical shop of the Pope, at Ottica Spiezia in Rome, Italy. The building was constructed in 1921, the same year in which Shinobu Ishihara changed his color blind test from Kanji to numbers, and began distributing the tests internationally. Over 100 years later, this test is still primarily used to test colorblindness. In 2022, could there be a color blindness test using painting?


Twelve 8" round paintings were made inspired by the palette of the Ishihara plates and the number of plates that need to be correctly identified in order to pass the test. Spectators were joined in a color experience, as the colorblind were given corrective lenses, so that all may see as one, and additional glasses imitating various blurs and eyesight loss were administered.  

"The event creates an explicit bridge between the dimensions of seeing and looking, an operation shaped by the artist's aesthetic language. John Dalton described his own color blindness in 1794 - he confused, like his brother, scarlet with green and pink
with blue. Dalton assumed that his aqueous humor, a naturally occurring patina in the eye, was tinted blue, selectively absorbing the longer wavelengths of light, an assumption that turned out not to be true. So Alexandra Fongaro tries to give life to her own reading of the patina that filters and characterizes everyday looking, a look that is often hindered by inattention and by the extreme lightness with which we embrace living today, ending up by stumbling into non-truth."
-Benedetta Monti

Photos: Sara Galleta

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