Dr Lythgoe, from the Institute of Child Health at University College London, stops me in front of a construction glowing a remarkably rich red ó Monument 4 for those who have been killed in ambush (to P.K. who reminded me about death), 1966. He believes it plays on our most basic fight or flight instincts. ìRed is incredibly stimulating to the brain, which is why it can be so effectively used by artists. It goes back to our evolutionary past, when red indicated ripeness of fruit. Way back, we also became programmed to flee the colour red because it was used as a warning signal by some animals, for example apes and fish.î That neurological remnant remains etched in our brains, Dr Lythgoe maintains.
-Simon Compton, The Times Online, 4 Feb
Very annoying article full of utterly trite and pointless speculation about how some art might tap into ‘deep-rooted’ brain processes. I don’t doubt that it might but this goes nowhere to proving it. Maybe there is some real research related to this somewhere, but it’s not evident from the article. Presume most of the blame lies with the journalist but the neurophysicist, a prize-winning science communicator ought to have done better than this.
This other article of Lythgoe’s is much more thought provoking..
Since suffering a stoke in 2001, former builder Tommy McHugh has felt an insatiable need to create, from painting and drawing to writing and sculpting. He now spends most of his day painting and sculpting and feels utterly unable to stop.