VIOLENCE, RAGE, TEMPTATION, DANGER. THE COLOUR RED seems permanently locked in the darklands of emotion. Imagine the walls of the world's prisons being painted a vivid rouge and watch them come tumbling down. Red is probably second to poor old black when it comes to connotations of negativity -- devils. tape. necks. under the bed; the nastiest and cheapest booze drunk by vagrants is coined red biddy. Being ‘in the red‘ is not a happy place for your bank balance tolinger while. depending on your purpose. a red-light district is not an area to wander aimlessly around. And were you to meet a bull in somewhere like a china shop. pray that a red hankie is not ﬂapping from your top pocket.
Yet. there is also an element of innocence about the colour:
red is the symbolic essence of burgeoning passion and desperate embarrassment. A red-letter day is an important
occasion though not necessarily one to ﬁll you with dread and it can be considered the most idealistic of all the colours of the political spectrum.
The art of Bauhaus tigurehead Wassily Kandinsky proved how frantically obsessed people can get with the resonance of colour and the theories they lend themselves to -- though. it seems a crying shame that his work can‘t be looked at any longer without making you think of irritating haircare ads. And
within written language. red works equally as well as an adjective. a verb. and a somewhat disparaging noun.
Red — like love. as several men have crooned — is all around us. Post boxes. lights at trafﬁc. the best loved rose. herrings. thin lines or sails in the sunset. Fluid and flexible.
red is an overwhelmingly complex contradiction. (‘onsider the subjectof blood. with its meanings wrapped in the beauty of natural birth or the horror of the worst kind of death. 01‘. on a less explicitly violent level. you could just think ol~ the old proverb about shepherds and skies. However you approach it.
just take it as red. (Brian Donaldson)
The Shape Of Colour: RED at The Lighthouse, Mon 15 Oct—Sun 16 Jan; the exhibition's curator Jane Pavitt delivers a lecture at The Lighthouse, Thu 14 Oct, 1pm, £3 (£2) .
In 1992, a sheer shortage of money mobilised Wayne Hemingway to empty out the contents of his and his girlfriend's wardrobe and set up a clothes stall at London's Camden Market. Soon after, the one-time student of geography and meteorology and girlfriend Gerardine launched Red Or Dead. One of Britain's most esoteric
110 THE lIST 7—21 Oct 1999
design labels and a by-word for wearable clothes with a keen eye on style radicalism was born. Their first collection was inspired by Russian peasant wear.
Born in the seaside town of Morecambe in the early 60$, Hemingway's earliest memories include being dressed up as Tarzan and paraded down the pier by his mum and gran and being held aloft by his Red Indian father, Billy Two Rivers, in a boxing ring.
His upbringing also handed Hemingway a firm footing in fashion realism. 'The industry can be up its own backside,’ believes Hemingway whose car boot sales to ensure he remains a ‘regular guy'. ‘We don't make unobtainable high fashion, we make clothes for the general public.’ (Susanna Beaumont)
Wayne Hemingway talks at The Briggait Centre, Mon 11 Oct, 6pm, £5 (£2.50).