Periscope I (ULAE 200) by Jasper Johns

Periscope I (ULAE 200) - Jasper Johns -

Artwork Information

TitlePeriscope I (ULAE 200)
ArtistJasper Johns
Art MovementPop Art

About Periscope I (ULAE 200)

“Periscope I (ULAE 200)” is a work by the artist Jasper Johns, who significantly contributed to the Pop Art movement. The artwork falls under the figurative genre, exhibiting John’s characteristic blending of imagery and abstraction. This notable piece continues to explore his fascination with color, symbolism, and the integration of text.

The artwork comprises three primary blocks of color—red, yellow, and blue—aligned vertically. Each section contains a different visual and textual element. The top red section appears to feature abstract markings and the vague outlines of what looks like mechanical parts or a schematic diagram. The yellow middle section is dominated by the word “YELLOW” written in a bold, sans-serif typeface, reverse printed so it mirrors the way it would appear in a periscope. The bottom blue section contains more abstracted markings, with a smattering of white spots reminiscent of stars or splattered paint, perhaps suggesting a night sky or a random arrangement akin to the spattered patterns often found in action painting.

Johns’ use of primary colors directly references the building blocks of color theory, while the reversed text challenges perceptions of reading and recognition, a recurring theme in Johns’ oeuvre where he frequently manipulates familiar symbols and objects to invite viewers to see them anew. The integration of text and image in such a starkly delineated manner underscores the Pop Art movement’s fascination with commercialism and the everyday. Yet, unlike his contemporaries who often leaned towards more overt imagery sourced from popular culture, Johns’ approach in “Periscope I (ULAE 200)” provides a more subdued, introspective meditation on perception, representation, and the nature of art itself.

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