Blue Mythologies: Reflections on a Colour

Carol Mavor's quirky Blue Mythologies reveals an inherently paradoxical color. Blue sings the purity of the Virgin Mary but also brands a movie as obscene. It is eternity and death, innocence and corruption, fullness and emptiness, triumph and defeat, happiness and tragedy, insularity and boundlessness. A post-modern Ariadne, Mavor employs her blue "yarn" as a means to banish cultural amnesia. She defines the concept of blue as both silence and powerlessness via Pietro Longhi's Exhibition of a Rhinoceros at Venice, in which a masked woman in a blue robe echoes "Francis Bacon's silent scream," and the "voiceless" Albertine in Proust's In Search of Lost Time.

On the other hand, blue can also evoke resilience and transcendence. Mavor's description of Nabokov's life-long study of Blues--a species of brown and gray butterflies that subtly radiates a "celestial [blue]" on its upper surfaces, evolves to "the blue mournful knots of ink... tiny heartbeats of blue" that compose Irène Némirovsky's Suite Française, then gives way to the blue lollipop-as-Communion symbolism of Krzysztof KieĊ›lowski's Blue.

Sometimes, in its somber hue, blending into gray, blue embodies stoicism. A resident of the Aran Islands describes the milieu as a "[blue] place where it is hard to find anything missing with its big high walls. People are better off who have no pets." Analyzing the depth and complexity of blue, Mavor concludes that while blue is self-contradictory, its paradox reflects truth. --Thuy Dinh, editor, Da Mau magazine

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