A BIT O’ WHITE – EEN BEETJE WIT – UN PEU DE BLANC
March 15 , 2007 - May 6, 2007
Center for Contemporary Non-Objective Art
Boulevard Barthélémylaan 5
T + F: (32) (0)2 502 6912
CCNOA center of contemporary non-objective art Brussels, Belgium, is pleased to present the group exhibition A Bit O’ White, which – after Double Exposure, minimalpop, Painted Objects, and 2step – is the fifth touring group exhibition produced by TEAM CCNOA 5tilman & Petra Bungert). A Bit O’ White features the work of 16 international artists working in the reductive mode: Matilde Alessandra (I), Tom Benson (UK), Julian Dashper (NZL), Ward Denys (B), Zipora Fried (A/USA), Klaas Kloosterboer (NL), Renée Levi (CH), Gerold Miller (D), Perry Roberts (UK/B), Michal Skoda (CZ), Clary Stolte (NL), Jan van der Ploeg (NL), Pieter Vermeersch (B), Emmanuelle Villard (F) and Jan Maarten Voskuil (NL). Although none of these artists focuses exclusively on the subject addressed in this exhibition – the notion and experience of the color/material WHITE with all its implications – its use plays an active and important role in their respective artistic practices. The exhibition will include paintings, objects and site-specific works as well as a new soundwork by Belgian composer Guy de Bièvre, which has been especially commissioned for this exhibition. A Bit O’ White will be accompanied by a 32-pages full-color publication.
The color phenomenon WHITE has long served as a subject of symbolism in religion, metaphysical thinking and literature, as well as in scientific research and philosophical inquiry. But it was not until the beginning of the last century, with the work of Kasimir Malevich, that WHITE in its radical form of expression first entered the world of the visual arts. Since this early, strong, seminal and - in his case utopian – statement the use of the color/material WHITE has become an integral part of artistic practice either in its pure form or as part of a broader frame of reference (De Stijl, Arp, Rauschenberg, Manzoni, LeWitt, Ryman, Group Zero, etc.). On the negative side, however, the radical and exclusive use of the color WHITE has often been the subject of ridicule and a populist weapon against non-objective art. And there is a common perception that the subject WHITE is in a way still ’cornered’ by the everyday notions of ‘beginning’, ‘birth’, ‘silence’, ‘nothingness’ or ‘death’ (the death of painting … as if WHITE were only a property of painting), possibly the irony of radical reduction. Notions and connotations, which appear like evergreens in the discussion on WHITE, try on the one hand to get a grip on WHITE but on the other hand defy its message of awareness and the idea of raising consciousness. Post-modern art criticism and revisionism mirror the variously coded characteristics of the color WHITE.
A Bit O’ White challenges the stereotypical properties attributed to WHITE and aims to broaden our capacity to perceive, experience and just enjoy its existence, free of preconceived notions and interpretations. A Bit O’ White presents the color WHITE as an event, a happening, a celebration of the perception of the color, color/material and color phenomenon WHITE. We might be irritated: we cannot identify anything, we do not see anything – it’s white, all white. And yet it opens our eyes, tickles our senses, let’s us be – we see so much. WHITE, which hints at a whole range of possibilities without expressing them, yet puts us on the alert. WHITE, which triggers our emotions, our fears, yet is so familiar to us. WHITE we fear – WHITE we embrace. Can we let go of our preconceptions? Can we let WHITE just be white – as we see it, as we experience it? A Bit O’ White sets out to open the door to a more comprehensive understanding of the subject WHITE as a color and as a material, to enable the viewer freely to experience and understand its subtle qualities in the context of contemporary non-objective art and daily life, to present a range of possible propositions and challenges, and to validate dialogue on the production of reductive art and its communication with the public. ( Tilman & Petra Bungert)