Cyrielle Gulacsy

May 29 – July 31, 2024

‘We dream of travels throughout the universe but is not the universe also within us?’ – Novalis


Exhibition Text | By Robert Brown


The work of Cyrielle Gulacsy aims to bridge the gap that so often exists between the worlds of art and science. Her paintings and sculptures draw directly upon her innate sense of awe and wonder at the latest discoveries of modern physics and, by making eloquent use of the simplistic formal languages of Minimalism and Abstraction, they aim to translate this into evocative images capable of inducing similar emotion in the viewer.


A Moving Frequency is Gulacsy’s second solo exhibition at Mignoni and, like her first, Light in the Distance in 2022, it is a show devoted to an exploration of the properties and power of light. In her first exhibition, Gulacsy had concerned herself with an articulation of the extraordinary range and variety of the often invisible cosmic light that emanates from distant stars. Here, by contrast, in A Moving Frequency, she has decided to focus entirely upon a single, specific, light-frequency – one that manifests itself much closer to home in the powerfully transcendent form of a unique and singular, blue, wavelength visible to us on Earth.


The exhibition comprises eight, identically-sized, 70 7/8 x 59 1/16 in. (180 x 150 cm) paintings, each one radiating a near-identical shade of a deep, ethereal, iridescent blue. Each of these paintings is made up of thousands of tiny, painstakingly hand-crafted dots of differing colour that have been individually applied with a long, pointed brush. This myriad of tiny dots is intended to emulate photons – the infinitesimally small quanta or wave-particles of the quantum universe that are known to constitute the substance, property and also strange behavior of light. Here, approximated and rendered physically in acrylic paint, these vibrant dots together form a highly material pictorial surface of variegated colour, depth, and texture that, when seen from close to, appears to suggest an infinite and energized field of collectively pulsating particles. Seen from further away, however, this pointillistic cosmic soup fuses in the eye of the viewer into a single, shimmering, near-monochromatic field of colour that radiates on a single, penetrative blue wavelength.

This singular colour-frequency has obsessed Gulacsy for several years. Indeed, it is, to some extent, both her painterly journey in pursuit of this particular shade of blue as well as an articulation of its passage in time and space as it travels across the sky that the progressive sequence of subtly differing shades of blue emanated by the eight paintings in the exhibition charts. The particular blue light that Gulacsy is seeking to convey in these paintings is the intense, radiant, all-permeating cosmic blue light that dominates the sky, twice each day, during the so-called ‘l’heure bleu’ or ‘blue hour’ of twilight. This is the time when the sun, soon after sunset and shortly before dawn, moves so far below the horizon that only specific blue-toned wavelengths of its light come to be diffracted across the Earth’s atmosphere and, for this brief period, appear to imbue everything with this singular, transcendent, outer-worldly colour.


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Loved by the early Romantics, who saw in this twilight phenomenon both a celestial confirmation of the sublime and a near-mystical manifestation of the transcendent potential of Nature, this cosmic blue light appears to dissolve all earthly divisions and permeates everything with a universal sense of mystery and wonder. For Gulacsy too, who understands all too well the astronomy, the physics, and even the biology involved in the perception of this celestial light, the light of the blue hour is also a metaphor for the interaction of the personal and the universal. Pointing out that this light, in fact, only appears blue to our eyes because of certain receptors in the retina that are unable to discern other, purple wavelengths also diffracted across the sky at this time, such awareness of the limits or our perception only enhances the uniqueness of this blue and of the moment in which it is manifested.


Gulacsy believes, like the philosopher Baptiste Morizot, that 21st Century man may have grown too desensitized to their surroundings and have thereby also lost much of their appreciation of the marvelous nature of our reality. She likes to point out for instance that where, for most people, the ‘blue hour’ often passes by unnoticed, this is not the case for most of the life on the planet. During this brief, in-between ‘hour’ of celestial transition – one that is neither night nor day – it is common, she notes, ‘for animals to hush and for plants to reverse their breathing’.


A moment of pause as well as of transition therefore, the ‘blue hour’ is also a moment suggestive of cosmic union, being a time when the Earth appears to have become one with the outer universe and all concepts of opposites and division appear to have dissolved. Earth and sky, night and day, as well as the individual observer and everything around them, all, by being bathed in this singular, all-embracing blue, appear to be involved in what the ancient alchemists used to describe as a hieros gamos, or sacred marriage of Earth and Sky.


Traversing both the worlds of the artist and the stargazer, for Gulacsy, the transitory blue of the ‘blue hour’ is also indicative of motion. In accordance with the Doppler effect in the change of a wave’s frequency in relation to an observer, for example, blue is also the colour by which physicists detect the motion of far-away elements moving towards us. The colour blue ‘has a short wavelength and also characterises celestial objects which move towards us, in what we call the blueshift,’ Gulacsy explains. ‘The photons that I paint move towards us, towards our eye, from the light of the sun, and we see them blue most of the time. This idea of movement also interests me in its temporal dimension, it evokes a change, a transition, of the passage between day and night and also the movement of light towards us, in this location that is the atmosphere, a space of transition between space and earth.’


The paintings in A Moving Frequency – each one a very slightly different shade of blue light -are the representations of ‘this frozen moment which is ultimately neither day nor night, but a transitory moment…rarely captured because it is also very short and above all never expected.’ Finally, Gulacsy says, ‘this moving frequency is also the one that moves us personally, like a journey, this time towards the interior, it is a colour that touches a particular and personal sensory space that goes beyond the simple definition of a phenomenon. This blue is both personal and universal.’


Each of the eight, individual blue paintings on show here is therefore one that marks a unique and specific moment of encounter between the individual and the universal. They are, in this respect, paintings that, as Mark Rothko used to say of his work, are ‘not representations of an experience…[they are] an experience.’






A Moving Frequency: Cosmic Art Exhibit Comes to New York
by Robin Seemangal



Blue 1-7, 2024, Acrylic ink on canvas, 70 7/8 X 59 1/16 in. (180 x 150 cm) each