Conversations with the Collection | Experiencing Colour

Open daily, 10am–5pm

Admission free


Part of Conversations with the Collection


We all experience colour differently. Our perceptions are influenced by biological, cultural, and psychological factors which vary for everyone. Colour is never neutral. These selected works showcase artists who harness the immersive power of colour, presenting contrasting works in dialogue.

Paintings and prints with colourful shapes by Helen Frankenthaler and Corita Kent are juxtaposed with artworks that use colour to tell a story or evoke a sense of place, like Roger Brown’s Misty Morning. For centuries artists have used colour to express energy, movement, nature and space, discord and harmony. This approach is shared equally by abstract and representational art. Artists understand that colour can provoke reactions from their viewers – its impact can be surprising, joyful, and even overwhelming.  

Colour is both a personal experience and shaped by progress in science, industry, and technology. These artworks span a century of immense change in the manufacture and availability of paint products. These advances altered how artists handled colour: new materials leading to new techniques.  By the early 20th century, paints were made on an industrial scale, creating vast colour ranges for artists like Josef Albers to choose from, straight from the can or tube.  

Event accessibility

Display accessibility

  • Wheelchair access


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Gallery facilities

Detailed information on accessibility at the National Galleries of Scotland

Parking for visitors is available at both Modern One and Modern Two. A donation is requested of £5 for up to 4 hours and £9 for 4-8 hours. Our payment meters have contactless capability. There is free accessible parking for blue badge holders.

  • Information desk
  • Wifi
  • Wheelchair access
  • Accessible toilets
  • Changing places toilet
  • Wheelchairs available
  • Public toilets
  • Disabled parking
  • Lockers (£1/£2)
  • Baby changing facilities
  • Buggy park
  • Seating throughout
  • Bike rack
  • Parking
  • Café
Getting here

Getting here

The Modern is located 15 minutes’ walk from Princes Street. It includes two buildings, Modern One and Modern Two, set in a beautiful sculpture park.

Venue map
  • Open daily, 10am–5pm
  • Open daily, 10am–5pm
73 & 75 Belford Road, Edinburgh, EH4 3DR

Conversations with the Collection

Conversations with the Collection

This is display is part of Conversations with the Collection, a changing programme of displays that offers visitors a brand new way to experience the national collection. 

A celebration of Scottish and international modern and contemporary art, the thematic displays place creativity and conversation at their core by considering how dialogue and exchange shape and reshape artistic process.

Audio tours

Audio tours

Welcome Audio Tour

For this tour, our curators introduce the themes of the display room by room and explain how they have drawn from the collection of modern and contemporary art to unearth evocative stories and create bold comparisons between the artists, ideas and ways of making. 

A conversation piece

For this tour audio tour of the Conversations with the Collection display at Modern One we have invited guests to share their thoughts on a selection of artworks from the display. Not knowing in advance which artworks they would be discussing, these responses are honest, real and unscripted. 

Audio Described Tour

Enjoy a selection of audio descriptions of artworks at from Conversations with the Collection. Taking over the top level of Modern One, this display is a celebration of Scottish and international modern and contemporary art.

Families | Art chat

Families | Art chat

Designed for families aged 6+ our art chat guide helps you explore the different artworks in this exhibition and encourages you to make your own. Available to pick up in gallery or download.

Friends go free

Friends go free

Become a Friend to enjoy unique access to the nation’s art collection with unlimited free entry to exhibitions, Friends-only exhibition previews and a 10% discount in our gallery shops & cafés.

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