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Viva Magenta beat out Barbiecore pink, the most talked about colour trend of 2022. 'We feel that this is the bigger picture play,' said a spokesperson for Pantone.

Pantone Names Viva Magenta Its 2023 Colour of the Year

Mark Rothko, Untitled (1968). Acrylic on paper mounted on panel. 60.6 x 47.6 x 3.5 cm. © Kate Rothko Prizel and Christopher Rothko, 2020.

Colour services company Pantone declared Viva Magenta 18-1750 their colour of the year for 2023, saying it 'vibrates with vim and vigour'.

The colour is employed to great effect in paintings by Mark Rothko, kinetic wax works by Anish Kapoor, and Op art works by Bridget Riley, among many examples from the art world.

Anish Kapoor, Past, Present, Future (2006). Wax and oil-based paint. Exhibition view: Anish Kapoor, Centre of Polish Sculpture, Orońsko (1 October 2022–12 February 2023). Courtesy Regen Projects' Instagram.

It takes on the connotation of blood in works by Louise Bourgeois, Tracey Emin, and Sun Yuan and Peng Yu.

Pantone said their choice was inspired by the red derived from the cochineal insect, which lives on prickly pear cacti and has been used to create dye by the Aztec and Maya peoples since the second century BC.

Sun Yuan + Peng Yu, Can't Help Myself (2016). Industrial robot, stainless steel and rubber, cellulose ether in coloured water, lighting grid with visual-recognition sensors, acrylic wall with aluminium frame.

Sun Yuan + Peng Yu, Can't Help Myself (2016). Industrial robot, stainless steel and rubber, cellulose ether in coloured water, lighting grid with visual-recognition sensors, acrylic wall with aluminium frame. Courtesy Arario Gallery.

'Rooted in the primordial, PANTONE 18-1750 Viva Magenta reconnects us to original matter,' said Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute, in a statement.

Magenta is used in the subtractive CMYK colour model to print on white paper, whereas the additive RGB colour model is used by screens that emit light, such as smartphones and computer monitors.

Bridget Riley, Magenta and Green (2002). Screenprint. 87 x 57 cm.

Bridget Riley, Magenta and Green (2002). Screenprint. 87 x 57 cm. Courtesy Karsten Schubert.

The selection of Viva Magenta is an about face from Pantone's 2022 colour of the year, a shade of periwinkle called Veri Peri 17-3938 that was chosen for its trendiness in the digital space, including gaming, digital art, and the metaverse.

Despite their ostensible focus on the physical, Pantone accompanied their announcement with a Miami exhibition entitled Magentaverse that explores the 'dynamic between Artificial Intelligence and human creativity'.

Claudia Comte, Turn and Slip 160, magenta (2020). Acrylic on canvas. 160 x 160 cm.

Claudia Comte, Turn and Slip 160, magenta (2020). Acrylic on canvas. 160 x 160 cm. Courtesy KÖNIG GALERIE.

Magenta wasn't the most talked about colour trend in 2022, however. That honour belongs to Barbiecore pink, which gained momentum following Valentino's Pink PP Fall/Winter 2022–23 collection and early glimpses of Greta Gerwig's film Barbie (2023).

'It's not to say we didn't love the hot pink—we worked with Valentino on their Pink PP,' Pantone's Laurie Pressman told USA Today.

'We love the impactful statement made by Barbiecore,' Pressman continued, 'but we feel that this is the bigger picture play.' —[O]

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