BLANC DE BLANCS
Kuratiert von Sonia González und Gregor Hildebrandt
Leiko Ikemura Ann Veronica Janssens
Gabriel de la Mora
Wiebke Maria Wachmann
The blank page of a book as a new beginning, a white dove as a symbol of peace, Buddhist monks wearing white in mourning. Purity, innocence, infinity, perfection, quiet, emptiness, cool. Rarely is any colour as laden with meaning as the colour white.
Blanc de Blancs – connoisseurs of wine use this term for a white wine pressed exclusively from white grapes. Blanc de Blancs also refers to the complex significance of this colour.
Snow falls behind the mountains, an exhibition curated by Berlin artist Gregor Hildebrandt in Copenhagen, serves as the starting point for Blanc de Blancs, to which Villa Schöningen added several other artistic positions. From 19 March to 8 May 2022, Villa Schöningen presents 54 works of art by 38 contemporary artists. As much as these works differ from one another, they all share one formal criterion: they engage with the colour white. With this achromatic colour that signifies not only reduction but complexity.
Karin Sander, for example, sends a white-ground, round canvas from exhibition to exhibition – entirely unpackaged. The subsequent patina, dents, cuts and supposed damage yield a drawing, a record of a shipping transit, a record of time. The work starts as a blank page and emerges by way of participation.
A different form of documentation of space and time can be found in The Sum of All Best Practices by Jorinde Voigt. The monochrome white of her work gives room for lines, cutting edges and shapes to appear, capturing the particular forms of a certain place at a certain time. In this case, it is foliage leaves the artist gathered on the way to her studio in the autumn of 2021.
Jürgen Krause applies a primer of chalk with a brush to both sides of a piece of paper. The mantra-like repetition of this process creates a blocky object of several centimetres, a concentration of countless possible drawings. Merely the title Priming. May to September 2012 alludes to a beginning and an end, even though the process is conceivable as repeating ad infinitum.
Thus, Villa Schöningen starts its exhibition year with a blank slate. The latest detention of a young Russian protesting her country’s invasion of Ukraine is but one example of the power of a white page. The protester expressed her dissent through a white poster without any writing or symbols. This was enough of a provocation for Russian authorities to arrest her.