Solo Show by Romana Londi curated by Philippa Adams 

“In Language, Colour is associated with emotions and used to conjure an infinite array of feelings: blushing, having the blues, paling, seeing red. And yet, it is through colour that we are exposed to the limits of language: when trying to discuss my works, I was intrigued by how they could resist any fixed description”.

Romana Londi’s practice lives on the outskirts of painting, installation, and performance. Her work explores the phenomenology of the material that foregrounds the experience of viewing, acknowledging each spectator’s individual relation to time, space and of the visual perception of the work. Overriding themes of the physical and the virtual, cause and effect, chance and memory binds each of her painting series into a catalogue of contradictory, and ultimately human perceptions.

‘The Times They Are A’ Changin’ (I Was Here, Me In Place And The Place in Me)” includes a selection of paintings from the series Colour Changing Painting (Self Exposed). The series was first initiated in 2015 when the London-based artist was invited to take part in a 3 months residency program at Hooper Project in Los Angeles. ”The desert, the blinding light, the mapping of the city that had no centre, my far away home in London, my failed attempts to recreate my studio here, the distance and the in between, filled with the looping rides with strangers on Uberpool, the time difference between me and my loved ones, all contributed to a sense of misplacement. I started to find analogies between my dying apartment plants and me: I was placing them in a decorative fashion in the room where they could not survive without light much in the same way as I was placing my own body in a space when my consciousness and stimulus was anchored elsewhere. I wanted to be Present. ”

This state of alienation prompted a deeper reflection about the relationship between time, space and consciousness and how a globalised world, that stretches beyond the limits of time zones, as well as the advent of digital and virtual realities brings about a fracture between inner and external realities further exacerbating the opportunity (or risk) to live in a purely idealised world, miles away from the material space our bodies inhabit and ultimately abolishing the power played by all senses in favour of the supremacy of the visual.

This evolved into the idea to create works that were alive, reactionary, sensual, human, emotional, utterly present and responsive to their immediate surroundings and fore-mostly to Light: the primary condition for the possibility of life on earth. The Colour Changing Painting paintings darken or lighten in response to the character and intensity of light, most notably ultraviolet radiation (UV), which is present in sunlight, allowing them to be in perpetual dialogue with their surrounding and evolve according to the time of day, season, temperature. Utterly vulnerable to the installation space, they will breathe ever-changing lives and will never be experienced the same way twice inviting the spectator to engage with the present in its specific time and space based authentic qualities and value.

Another important feature of the Colour Changing Painting series is the role played by colour. Being the optical illusion par excellence, colour serves as a vehicle to express the uniqueness of individual human experience and ultimately exposes the paradox of communication.

In these works, colour loses its aesthetic value and just like in Ludwig Wittgenstein fragmented writings on the subject, performs as a kind of intellectual laboratory where one can experiment the relations between logic and experience. That is, between what in our language belongs to the rules and definitions of its use, and that which concerns perceptive observation and all psychic experience.  

- Tara Londi


Philippa Adams is Senior Director at The Saatchi Gallery, London. Working directly on the collection, liaising with artists and galleries on new acquisitions and commissions. Since 1998 she has worked on the Saatchi exhibitions and accompanying publications drawn from the collection, many of which have traveled to major museums and institutions world wide.