chromophobia

Whitewashing is supposed to remove colours and patterns from space to neutralize it and provide hygiene. However, in an interior which is a dynamic space, the white paint is not enough to remove the activity of the surrounding colours. Whiteness does not exist. The modernist white wall can be seen as the most colourful surface and a screen in which the room reflects. It is a frame containing the whole spectrum of light. This project investigates relations between light, colour and human perception, as well as our cultural and social precognition of these phenomena. Light and colour are more than meets the eye.

In the white cube of a gallery, I placed another white space. The emptiness of the in¬stallation and the possibility to close its doors after entering, provide an environment of intimacy that highlights the chromatic experience inside. A discourse between the visitor and the environment is induced. Mark Wigley (2001) wrote that modernism “was a point at which white was exhibited as such; when architects exhibited the ex-hibition value of white.” In my installation, the modernist white wall is put to the test.

Although the whiteness of paint covers all of the surfaces in the room, its space is not white nor static. It is exposed to the dynamic, coloured light that fills its void. The interior, despite its emptiness, palpitates. Only one wall stays white. Contrary to its surroundings it does not change, trying to overcome the active environment. The wall is cancelling its own surroundings, actively reacting and trying to bleach itself as much as possible.

As the colour is not a property of the objects; instead of Le Corbusier’s Ripolin paint, light is the mean used to bleach the space. However, the resulting whiteness is not achieved by the use of white light. Projected light is not merely white, but becomes white only when hitting the wall that is altered by the surrounding colours. White is the amalgamate of all the existing colours. Therefore, the appearing colours are not removed but supplemented with the rest of the spectrum. This whiteness is a charged and precisely constructed mixture. 

"If one ever needed proof of the idea that color is more a cultural and perceptual phenomenon than a physical reality, then Pavel's written report drives home the point. In short, but well written and documented paragraphs, he sketches a 'history of color,' constantly comparing and contrasting scientific, artistic and phenomenological aspects. The result is a poetic journey along references and experiments focusing on the ephemeral qualities of light and color. The 'non-color' white is unmasked as a physically non-existent cultural construction, which furthermore has deep philosophical and moral dimensions." (review by Füsun Türetken and max Bruinsma)

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