RGB - Red Green Blue. Colour Stories
Museum of Printing Arts Leipzig

Three colours, three stories. On 2 February, the Museum für Druckkunst Leipzig opens the exhibition RGB – Red Green Blue. Colour Stories, a show developed by the Musée de l’Imprimerie et de la Communication graphique in Lyon on the media history of the three colours of light.


The exhibition delves into the colour space of screens, in which images are created from a mixture of red, green and blue. Over sixty objects – paintings, prints, photographs, films, games, advertisements and books – trace the diverse applications, effects and symbolic meanings of these three colours. Why is Veronese green dramatic? Stephen King’s passion red? Maggie Nelson’s melancholy blue? The exhibition is accompanied by a varied supporting programme with the support of the Institut français Leipzig.

What is a colour? A sensory stimulus, a pure feeling or an eloquent sign? The exhibition focuses on a medium that is one of the oldest in the history of mankind. Exhibits from the collections of the Musée de l’Imprimerie et de la Communication graphique, the Museum für Druckkunst Leipzig, the Museum im Wilhelm Ostwald Park in Grimma and the Schloss- und Spielkartenmuseum Altenburg illustrate its multifaceted history of culture and knowledge – as a spectral colour in optics, as a pigment in painting and printing technology or as a pictorial symbol. Using red, green and blue as examples, the exhibition shows how individual colour perception and cultural colour coding go hand in hand. The red of the rose, the communist revolution and horror films express passion and pain in equal measure. The regenerative green of nature can be transformed into the theatrical green of the video game Zelda, the green screen in the cinema and the paintings of the Renaissance painter Veronese. And the blue of the ocean waves can be both soothing and rebellious or cold and full of melancholy, as in Maggie Nelson’s diary Bluets.

The exhibition cooperation between the Musée de l’Imprimerie et de la Communication graphique and the Museum für Druckkunst Leipzig was initiated with the support of the Institut français Leipzig to celebrate the sixtieth anniversary of the Élysée Treaty in 2023. It also honours the partnership that has existed between the two cities since 1981. The exhibition has already been shown in Lyon from 7 April to 17 September 2023.


Museum of Printing Arts
Since its foundation in 1994, the Museum of Printing Arts has dedicated itself to the cultural heritage of printing technology and sees itself as a lively place with a special workshop atmosphere, presenting 550 years of printing and media history on four floors with around 100 functioning machines and presses. The artistic printing techniques of relief, intaglio and planographic printing, which are listed in the German UNESCO Commission’s nationwide list of intangible cultural heritage, are preserved, maintained and communicated. The museum is located in a listed building in the former industrial district of Leipzig-Plagwitz. The four-winged building looks back on over 100 years of tradition as a printing works and is therefore home to one of the last historical printing workshops. The museum’s basic inventory goes back to the Schumacher Gebler collection, which comprises a unique ensemble of printing presses, lead type and type matrices.

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