Pantone Whiteness Studies

The image is of a faux Pantone chip called Pantone 11-4800 (Blanc Sur Blanc Sur Blanc). The first part of the title refers to the proprietary numerical classificatory system of color the Pantone corporation owns – the original name for 11-4800 is Blanc de Blanc (translation: White from White) and it is considered the whitest white Pantone has classified. The variation and change of name I made from Blanc de Blanc to Blanc Sur Blanc Sur Blanc is a conceptual move to reconsider the potentially fixed gesture that white from white might state – and introduce an idea that the white colors are layered on top of one another and are, therefore, an adjustable stack of concepts not fixedly “from” one another. There are a minimum of three white colors to the work, visually speaking: the white Pantone color, the substrate (white paper) it’s printed on, and the painted gallery wall behind the work. The parenthetical part of the title also is a French-English phonetic play on words – in French it means White On White On White, but when pronounced in American English it becomes “blank, sir, blank, sir, blank,” absurdly insisting, as many do both artistically and socio-politically, that the color white is blank or a default base from which to begin constructing our works and worlds from. Are there slippages and implications thereof in the language and aesthetics we chose? Are they linked to the systems, literally, and figuratively, keeping these things structurally in place. It’s also an analyzes on the social construction of whiteness and the impact it has on culture when deployed as an ideological strategy tethered to power and social status.

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