Exhibition duration: 25 September – 24 November 2019
Curated by Iris Kritikou

The Herakleidon Museum is proud to present the solo show ‘The blue hour’ of the painter Olga Alexopoulou curated by Iris Kritikou. The exhibition reveals the artist’s evolution through the colour blue, an evolution that includes the intersection between art and advanced technology.
Olga Alexopoulou has spent years studying the color blue from antiquity to today, often travelling around the world to explore different blue pigments. The search for cobalt blue as it is used in the traditional way in blue & white porcelain, for example, took her to Jingdezhen, China, the capital of porcelain. Continuing her journey in the exploration of blue, Alexopoulou collaborated with the scientific laboratory that discovered plutonium, dark energy and the acceleration of the universe and subsequently created a new pigment. Confluencing nanoscientific principles and art, what is now called, Quantum Blue, is a pure color reminiscent of the period of a day known as the blue hour -- that brief period of twilight before sunrise or after sunset.
In the past, young poets would train with the following first exercise: to write a poem on snow, without using the word snow. In the exhibition, the painter describes the "blue hour" without the colour blue until we reach the small vial of Quantum Blue, the distillation that is of the magic of that hour. 
Quantum Blue is made out of quantum dots (inorganic nanocrystals made from semiconductors) and it utilizes the advantages of brightness of the quantum dots to bring a new blue light to the field of the arts. Quantum dots have an extraordinary purity of colour, which makes them the purest colour phosphors one can find.
The concept was conceived by Alexopoulou and was taken on by Prof. Paul Alivisatos, an internationally recognized authority on the fabrication of nanocrystals. Nanotechnology scientists implemented the materials at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, in California, along with the exceptional contribution of colour expert Maria Chatzidakis from the University of West Attica.  
‘The blue hour’ exhibition was first presented in Tokyo at the UltraSuperNew Gallery in Harajuku under the auspices of the Embassy of Greece in Japan and the Greek Chamber of Commerce in Japan, in collaboration with the Istanbul Concept Gallery. 
The exhibition was accompanied by an educational programme and also, on the 9th of November 2019, an International Symposium on the History, Technology and Research of the Colour Blue took place with top academics and researchers of the colour blue from around the world.  

Symposium on the History, Technology and Research of the Colour Blue
A scientific meeting in the context of the exhibition "The Blue Hour"
The Herakleidon Museum is proud to present the Symposium on the History, Technology and Research of the Colour Blue which will take place on Saturday the 9th of November 2019 with some of the top academics and researchers on the colour from around the world. Starting from Ancient Greece and reaching all the way to the very cutting-edge technology being developed at Silicon Valley USA now. 
The Symposium takes its start with the research by Theophrastus (Aristoteles’ successor) on the colour blue and in so doing debunking all the false articles that are unfortunately popular in our time about the colour blue in antiquity. We then move to developments in Asia particularly focusing in kilns in Iran and China that were burning brightly with developments of blue. To then reach the secret recipes of blue used during the Medieval times.
The quest for blue continues to modern times with the accidental discovery of YInMn blue, the first inorganic blue pigment in more than 200 years. We then move to the latest pigment discovered, Quantum Blue, a pigment made up of the purest colour phosphors one can find on Earth, the nanocrystals quantum dots.
The Symposium closes with the presentation ‘Painting with Light’ which takes us to the latest developments of advanced technology and how a group of scientists have found a way to reproduce the exact full spectrum of light that humans can see, on screens made with nanotechnology.
Contributions by:  Konstantinos Beltsios (University of Ioannina), Thomas Katsaros (Byzantine and Christian Museum), George Manginis (Benaki Museum), Kaori Takahashi (Tokyo University of the Arts), Georgios Mastrotheodoros (National Center for Scientific Research Demokritos), Stamatis Boyatzis (University of West Attica), Steven Patterson (Derivan), Mas Subramanian (Oregon State University), Maria Chatzidakis (University of West Attica), Jason Hartlove (Nanosys)
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