RED. Beyond the colour. Contradiction.
LIVING. The embodiment of different feelings, in both their positive and negative meanings.
PASSION. Stories of alcoves and red velvets, but also love that ignites in the soul before turning into flesh. “You appeared at the door / in a red dress / to tell me you are fire / that consumes and relights / a thorn has stung me of your red roses and from my finger it has sucked my blood, as it belonged to you already (…)”.1 And love that ends, when abandonment feels like death and the lack of suffering of the one who left makes us imagine our departure to see if our beloved one is going to cry and remember. “(…) red, it is red / the dress you wear today / at my funeral / beautiful and worry-free / you are so calm on the day of my funeral (…)”.2
PROFANE. We ascribe it the power of superstition, the power to bring us good fortune through the coming year or on our wedding day.
SACRED. We pray it in the hearts of painted Madonnas.
FRAGRANCE. Beyond matter. “(…) She had red hair and wore a grey, sleeveless dress. Her arms were very white and her hands yellow with the juice of the halved plums. Grenouille stood bent over her and sucked in the undiluted fragrance of her as it rose from her nape, her hair, from the neckline of her dress (…)”.3
MANES. Red, of women. Witches.
HEAT. A sensation of wellness, home, hearth.
FIRE. Immortal, hell.
COLOUR. Of the whole, the first one we see when we come into the world and that in the course of our life makes us stop at traffic lights, and with flashes warns us of the danger, or of a train that we haven’t caught and is passing.
I bet it – if red is really the colour of the whole and its opposite, it will be the last colour we see.
1 Giuseppe Ungaretti, “12 settembre 1966”, in Vita d’un uomo. Tutte le poesie,
2 Nicolò Fabi, “Rosso”, single taken from Il giardiniere, Virgin 1997
3 Patrick Süskind, Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, Penguin Books 2010