Commas are iconic objects scattered black
in space. To discover panoramic telescopes are made
« The mere act of writing, isn’t it to put black on white ? »
Black has always been omnipresent in the writing of every society.
Writing, necessary for communication and transmission, sacred or artistic, expresses its meaning as much in form as in content.
On white paper or on street walls, typographic black is character, sign between spaces, scripture traced with indelible ink.
Calligraphy is associated with the history of writing, before and after the use of press. Until the end of the Middle Ages, the practice of calligraphy in Europe was exclusive of the religious, as it was with Chinese, Japanese and Arabic calligraphy. Production of ink and research on different black pigments are part of this process.
Today, graffiti artists provide an urban and contemporary vision of calligraphy and typography.
The gesture puts a sign into an emotion, as typographic fonts put somehow «character» into text.
« Black has an infinity of colors; it is the matrix of them all... Black is the first revealer of light in matter. »
Next to the different senses associated with black runs a multitude of shades of black: There are reddish blacks, glittering blacks, rich blacks, bright, dull, washed-out blacks, almost blue or close to maroon.
Even though black is sometimes described as achromatic or inkless, in practice it could be considered a color. In fact, if the subtractive synthesis is considered, black is the result of a mixture of pigments with different wavelengths combined in a way that all of them are assimilated. It is therefore a color obtained by composition.
Black pigments were the first ones created by people, and the continuous search for an absolute black is still a major preoccupation to either science or art.
Since the first creation of black color, from charred wood, to vertical carbon nanotubes -the darkest material ever created by men- the pursuit of absolute black has not yet been exhausted.
Death is the first image associated with black, that of darkness, the absence of life and light. Since the Middle Ages, skeletons and skulls have illustrated the vanity of life, the transitory nature of human life and the relentless death.
In western folk death is often represented as a skeleton wrapped in a black cape and armed with a scythe, a cold and cruel figure that comes to take the living.
Since the Fifteenth Century, men have tried to tame the fathomless mystery of nothingness; through vanities, engravings of macabre dances and mocking skeletons. Later on, the decorative arts and industries have appropriated this imagery of death with more daring forms.
In our days, this aesthetic black still exists, in a ludic reappropriation of funereal symbolism. Skulls in particular have been represented in a thousand ways: as works of art, jewelry, tattoos, and in the fashion industry, imprinted even in pajamas for the newborns, a cynically tender way to welcome them into this world.
Mourning clothing, apartments covered in black, funereal art, funereal marches, the great requiem of black was imposed for a long time and endures still in some societies under more or less codified forms.
There was a time when neither a smile nor a word was to be offered to a women dressed in mourning clothes, for fear of compromising her. There was a time when, if women died in labor, the newly born were publicly shown wearing mourning clothes, wrapped in black cloth and hoods.
The presence of black in mourning has been relentless during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in Catholic countries. At the beginning of the twenties, many women were mourning after the First World War, so black becomes a daily garment. Later on, artists accounted for these rites, renewing and giving new luster to black dismal.
« Black is my refuge, black is a stroke on white sheet. »
Yves Saint Laurent
All designers have created black pieces, all women wear black.
Coco Chanel’s “little black dress” thus becomes a symbol of elegance and refinement. Always present in the collections of great designers and in the street, black is therefore inseparable from universal chic but also fads, grunge, minimalist, monastic...
Next, black also appropriated of objects and accessories: is the black of pomp, black glasses, limousines, Rita Hayworth’s gloves and the butterfly knot; black is the color of jewelry, furniture and Baccarat crystal.
The elegance of black appears where it is not expected, sometimes even in the delicacy of a tractor’s tire. The elegance of black is also found in the fineness of a stroke, and the depth of black, in the manner of Camila Farina’s fireworks.
Black slowly permeated into the intimate universe and became an erotic symbol. Stilettos and net stockings, corsets, tulle and lace, were, for a long time exclusive of women of light manners; today they have become universal erotic codes.
It is the black of night, of dark and hidden zones, black of the forbidden, imagination, fantasies.
Vinyl and other accessories took the concept further into a symbolic dimension playing with sexual tension: black of bondage and s&m, sex-toys and fetichism. Black oscillating between nightlife noises and the melody of sighs.
Mixed Cultures, immigration, a journey linked to a country’s history.
To celebrate black in Argentina is to go back to basics, pay homage to some expressions, miscegenation, historical dates, music and dance, physical diversity, aesthetic plurality... is the tango initiated by the steps of slaves.
« Lord, why did you make me black? Lord, why did you make me black? Black is the color of dirty clothes, of grimy hands and feet. Black is the color of darkness, of tired beaten streets. Black is what people are "Labeled" when others want to keep them away.. Black is the color of shadows cast.
Black is the color of dirty clothes, the color of dirty hands and feet. Black is the color of darkness, the color of tired and beaten streets.
“Black” is the label people puts on those they wish to keep afar. Black is the color of shadows. »
(and God answered :)
«Why did I make you black? Why did I make you black?
I made you in the color of coal, from which beautiful diamonds are formed. I made you in the color of oil, the black gold which keeps people warm. Your color is the same as the rich dark soil that grows the food you need... All colors of the heavenly rainbow can be found throughout every nation. When all these colors are blended, you become my greatest creation!
You are the color of the midnight sky, I put star glitter in your eyes... »
From: Patricia Kaersenhout & Jeannette Ehlers, video ‘the image of me’»
« I love the authority of black, it’s an uncompromising color. A violent color that invites, however, to self reflection. »
Authority is often represented with the color black, in a system of symbols that prevails even nowadays.
Black confers to uniforms an unarguable authority, whether it is police officers or priests, rabbis or referees... Represented by the vestments of Religion and Authority, the color black echoes austerity and rigor.
Authority is also expressed by the seduction in a black glance at which one feels compelled to lean.
Black is the emblematic color of rebellion.
In the collective unconscious, black is the pirate’s flag; he black of the skirt that Louise Michel swung on the end of a stick over the barricades, that became the symbol of Anarchy.
It is also the Rocker, Punk, Goth, all dressed in black, some with painted lips and nails, others with leather jackets and black motorcycles, raising thus the signs of insubordination.
For Albert Watson, is the housewife who, armed with clad legs and stilettos, raises as master-woman, a form of rebellion against the way traditionally projected for her.
Fear of darkness is not just a childhood fear. It is on the foundation of the great terrors of man from the dawn of time; it raises the need for fire in caves, torches in the towns of the Middle Ages, lanterns on the streets of metropolis.
An universal fear of night, of emptiness, endless black; fear of loneliness, fear of the unknown world that we imagine an absolute black.
Childish or adult fear, impregnated in collective memory. A fear we confront through play, demystification and objectification of what scares and fascinates us at the same time.
Fear of the dark is, in our earliest memories, that separation from the mother, at night, when is time to sleep. It is then -to conjure the fear- that children choose as heroes, figures that dominate that scary color (Batman, Zorro, Darth Vader, witches...)
This sequence explores our vision of a deeply human terror: fear of the darkness that surrounds and hides certain movements...
In Greek mythology, Nyx is night’s goddess and personification. Nyx begets Ether, the brightest part of the upper atmosphere, and Hemera, the day. There is no shadow without light, no dusk without dawn.
Artists from all times have worked with this dichotomy between the darkest and the brightest.
Does our vision of shadows and colors depend on our visual perception? Is the blind who sees with the eyes of the spirit, more visionary than the photographer or the artist? Evgen Bavcar, blind from birth, has created for over thirty years a “visionary” photography, accountable of his inner worlds.
Lights and shadows have inspired countless works, all of them carrying a portion of mystery, oneirism and provocation.
In the poem The Drunken Boat, Rimbaud introduces the expression black scent :
Glaciers, suns of silver, nacreous waves, skies of embers!
Hideous strands at the end of brown gulfs
Where giant serpents devoured by bedbugs
Fall down from gnarled trees with black scent
The poetic language of scents lets the imagination wander.
We all know that colors don’t have a smell, nevertheless... if we let the imagination run wild, the scent of black mourning is that of salty tears, incense and naphthalene, aging chrysanthemums, black marble dust and a pinch of soul...
The black scent of erotism is intoxicating to some, sharp to others. The black perfume of luxury reminiscent of the black leather harness hand-stitched for the sorrel. Authority holds a cold scented black, as Justice does.
The society and school of perfumers, Givaudan, has created for Caravana Negra, six different fragrances: Ebony, Ink, Black Fig, Steam, Tar and Vetiver Tar, evoking different sequences of our Caravan tour and leaving each participant to freely associate and interpret these scents.
After smelling these perfumes the visitor is invited to play, matching them to the sequences in the exhibition, thus confronting our sensitivity to that of great perfumers.
« Caravana Negra », vaste manifestation artistique, parcourt le monde et rend hommage à la couleur noire. Conçue par Stéphane Plassier, Caravana Negra a la légèreté des gestes nomades, elle donne au noir des sons, des couleurs et des saveurs, elle passe et met le noir en lumière.Version Française
« Caravana Negra » is a vast artistic exhibition that travels around the world paying tribute to black color. Created by Stéphane Plassier, Caravana Negra has the lightness of nomadic movements. It gives sounds, colors and fragrances to black. Caravana Negra passes by, and brings black to light.English Version
« Caravana Negra », vasta manifestación artística, recorre el mundo en homenaje al color negro. Una concepción de Stéphane Plassier, Caravana Negra tiene la ligereza de los gestos nómadas. La caravana, a su paso, confiere sonidos, colores y sabores, pone de relieve al color negro.Versión Española
Liste des galeries : Stéphane Plassier , firstname.lastname@example.org Angela Massoni, email@example.com Aiko Cortés, firstname.lastname@example.org Natacha Wolinski, email@example.com LISAA Web / LISAA Design la FADU
L'équipe de création : Stéphane Plassier , firstname.lastname@example.org Angela Massoni, email@example.com Aiko Cortés, firstname.lastname@example.org Natacha Wolinski, email@example.com LISAA Web / LISAA Design la FADU
Développement et Partenariat : Marcela Alvarez, firstname.lastname@example.org
La Caravane sur Internet : - La Caravana Negra, raison d'espérer du décloisonnement artistique - "Why is black the new black?" - Jean-Michel Ribes, Frédéric Taddéi et Anne Hidalgo, à l'exposition Caravana Negra à Madrid