Luftwerk: Exact Dutch Yellow

Saturday, Oct 8, 2022 – Jan 29, 2023

78 E. Washington
Chicago, IL 60602

Chicago Cultural Center, Exhibition Hall, 4th Floor North

DCASE Exhibitions  


Exact Dutch Yellow is a new immersive exhibition by the Chicago-based collaborative Petra Bachmaier & Sean Gallero of Luftwerk Studio. Drawing upon the scientific history of color and color theory, the exhibition explores how we perceive the natural world today. A series of sculptural light installations using botanical pigments and dynamic, changing light conditions will transform Exhibit Hall into abstracted, atmospheric chromatic experiences.

A play on words and the act of naming, Exact Dutch Yellow references the inherent difficulties that have always accompanied the classification of color. When the noted English biologist Charles Darwin embarked on his now famous journey aboard the HMS Beagle in the early nineteenth century, he brought along one of the earliest and most influential books to attempt a taxonomic guide to the colors of the natural world: Patrick Syme’s Werner’s Nomenclature of Colours (1814). Based on the groundbreaking work of German geologist Abraham Gottlob Werner, Darwin used the book extensively to help describe flora and fauna he observed, but occasionally improvised the naming of colors, changing for example Werner’s “Dutch Orange,” to “Exact Dutch Yellow.” The title of the exhibition speaks to the subjectivity of description and offers space to contemplate and consider the interconnected ecology of light, color, and nature.

Exhibit Hall will feature a series of immersive color and light installations using botanical colors in combination with color changing light conditions that transform into abstracted, atmospheric experiences. Whether using natural pigments, exploring the phenomenon of light and color in the sky, informed by a holistic perception of the natural world and an interconnected ecology.

Image: An offering from Petra Bachmaier & Sean Gallero of Luftwerk Studio