Sunday, April 3, 2016

Fifty shades of white

The colour white can set off any other colour in a composition. But what if one had to make the entire composition in white alone? While there is a richness to the use of different colours in a painting, there is a distinct richness to using white alone.

White has been the colour of peace, calm and purity across cultures. The grace of a white marble sculpture cannot be obtained by using colours.
The different shades of white set off the differences of form or texture in a much more subtle, refined and gracious way than any amount of colours could have, as in the famous Elgin marbles and other Grecian sculptures.

A group of artists held an exhibition of contemporary works recently titled "White on white", using visuals, sculptures and installations, at the NIV Art Gallery, Delhi. The compositions were stark, simple and minimal.

The exhibition curated by eminent artist Shobha Broota, was a visually profound experience. Her words about the exhibition, displayed here, capture well the spirit of the event:

Here are some representative compositions from the exhibition:

This one had a collection of everyday objects, as you would see on a study table, or on a dressing table, all in white.

Having them all in white emphasised the relative forms and spacings of the objects in a much more significant way, and also showed all the various "shades of white".

This installation was made up entirely of glass tubes. On a white background. Again the texture of the background, the texture of the tubes, the reflections and shadows cast by the glass tubes, the relative sizes and placings, all were emphasised in a severe sort of way by the absence of colour.

A white fabric, white threads and a white board, was all that was used in this composition of a tree. The constant outward growth, the formation of tinier and tinier branches and the surge of life in a tree, were all visible in this strong, silent composition.

It was an interesting exhibition, and thought provoking. I thought about the fifty shades of white and more, one saw in the clouds, on snow and ice, in the marble of the Taj Mahal, or in fluffy balls of cotton. It is only the textures, the shadows cast by the various layers and forms that make beautiful compositions.

As in this beautiful marble bust of Ippolita Maria Sforza. It is the white on white strands of hair, and pure form of the face and neck in white, that make this sculpture so incredibly beautiful.

 Looking forward to seeing more such contemporary experiments in the various shades of white.

1 comment:

  1. very nice writeup which brought up the true essence of the theme. would love to visit the exhibition.