Karl Holmqvist - The pink triangle

Silkscreen print on invercote, 350 gr., lasercut. Text written by the artist
50 x 70 cm

Signed and numbered edition of 20 + 5 (a.p)

MOREstencils (6)
400 €

A Brief history of Triangles and their colours and directions etc.

The Blaues Dreieck from Blinky Palermo from 1969 was editioned by Rene Block as a stencil for painting a medium blue triangle directly onto the wall with the initial ones painted above doors with the triangle pointing ‘upwards’ similar to the architectural element part of Greek temples. The following year in 1970 he also had the blue triangle painted repeatedly in a straight line on the walls of a small room at the Palais de Beaux-Arts in Brussels (such a cool way to do a museum install!) but later on there were also black and mirror variants with the triangle pointing downwards in something of a more aggressive use of the shape. In the mid-eighties in New York members of the Aids activist group Act Up were looking for a symbol simultaneously expressing them being part of the gay liberation movement all while pointing to the urgency of the rapidly spreading Aids crisis. What they came up with was a pink triangle situated in the middle of a black field with the phrase Silence=Death written underneath in white all-caps in what is now a design hallmark. The pink triangle in fact was taken from the Nazi insignia used on gay prisoners in WWII death camps but with the triangle turned upwards so as to differentiate and reclaim it from this sordid history. Triangles pointing up or down may light up outside of elevators indicating whether they are on their way or why not go to the traditional Hindu Sri Yantra design consisting of no less than 43 triangles altogether with ones pointing upwards symbolise male energy and the downward pointing ones symbolise the female and that taken together indicate all the different forces and energies of the universe. Benjamin Buchloh has mentioned that the blue of Palermo’s Blaues Dreieck might have taken some inspiration from Yves Klein’s use of and mythology making around his International Klein Blue–even though Palermo’s colour palette is a lot more varied of course including quite distinct browns and greens often forming some type of landscape abstractions. The pink triangle stencil I’ve made can be used as a prop in itself or else for painting pink triangles directly onto walls preferably in a similar hue as the one on the actual stencil (or any other colour in fact, you know like feel free… ). I wanted to make a simple object with a lot of different connotations with more pastel or ‘baby’ hues of course of pink and blue recently quite militantly used for indicating the gender of newborn babies creating one last link between Palermo’s original stencil for making blue triangles and my more recent homage in this pink one. Enjoy!

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