Joséphine Michel, Halfway to White
Halfway To White is not a quest for a virginal white but the empirical and tonal exploration of a multitude of whites.
White is an overwhelmingly enigmatic subject: the same way it contains all colours, it can carry all significations and meanings. It is precisely through this complexity that this project hopes to touch upon the ambivalence, the thickness and the spectrality that white can embody or convey, more specifically through interferences, micro-textures, and loss of co-ordinates.
Occidental traditions have usually approached white as the symbol of immaculate purity, transcendent quality, or inactive emptiness. Contradicting the received idea of whiteness as a flat surface of inscription, physics highlights the complexity and composite nature of white. White light, as a condition of illumination composed of an even distribution of all the frequencies within the visible spectrum, is a dazzling experience of vision.
Innervated by the musical experiments of Salvatore Sciarrino’s Esplorazione del Bianco, made of micro-turbulences in which are revealed a multitude of variations in the thickness and matter of white, the photographs that form Halfway To White are composed of empirical whites, found in immediate surroundings, and of overexposures, deliberate whitening of the image. White is the matrix for an investigation on the variability of presence, having the ability of being both a white of dissolution and a white of emergence. White can be potential, germination; it can equally be blinding as an alert, giving form to altered states of perception. Invisibility and visibility of white: it sometimes saturates, sometimes dissolves in silence. White has this quality of being essentially unsolved.
Exhibition venue: Grande Halle, Parc des Ateliers, Rencontres d’Arles 2012.