Litmus by Sydney based sculptor Ari Purhonen was created as part of a project to refurbish the building housing the UTS Faculty of Science in 2006. In an attempt to add some life to a relatively bland streetscape, proposals were invited from selected artists for a commission to create a 50 metre frieze relief on the Thomas street facade.

Purhonen’s winning proposal was a simple yet sophisticated artwork is an optically dynamic artwork that plays with parallax to explore the artist’s thesis that science and art are inextricably linked through the study of colour and light.

The resulting artwork is made up of hundreds of individually painted aluminium strips, angled to produce an visual sequence across two distinct bands of colour. Approached from one direction, the wall appears to shift from yellow to red; from the opposite end it seems green-blue, constantly changing with the movement of the viewer. This departs from the simple blue/red indicators implied by the work’s title, to allude to a range of measurement scales use in scientific analysis of materials and light.

Janet Ollevou
Curator, Colour on the Concrete

  • Artist: Ari Purhonen
  • Details Litmus 2005, automative paint on lenticular aluminium strips