Plane White (2011)


Most museums display art pieces in white rooms. This Plane White by Carina Ow challenges this model by displaying new presentation strategies which are based of the potential of new media to establish unfamiliar experience. The room is not a space, but transforms itself with the public to become an art piece.

Upon entering the space, the public is encouraged to interact with walls in order to display a painting. The installation is meant to engage the public to learn how to use and to experience it through natural gestures and social exchanges, as it supports multiple users at once. Through these interactions, the notion of physical contact and social interaction is reestablished, which ultimately recovers a human quality, previously lost through conventional exhibition spaces.

Interestingly, the art piece exhibited is Wassily Kandinsky’s Composition VIII from the book Point and Line to Plane. Kandinsky was known for his abstract work. From the lines to the colours used within his pieces, he believed that each fundamental part played a spiritual and audible act. He wrote: “Colour is the keyboard, the eyes are the harmonies, the soul is the piano with many strings. The artist is the hand that plays, touching one key or another, to cause vibrations in the soul.” In Point and Line to Plane, he explains how each elements of an art piece: a point, a line and a plane, constitutes an affective colouration, a tonality which echos in the soul. Kandinsky’s synesthesia inspired his philosophy of art and painted orchestras.

The use of his art piece in Plane White constitutes an important component for its understanding as it gives a new dimension, where the installation not only allows us to touch, and to interact, but also to hear an orchestrated painting – to be the maestro of Kandinsky’s Composition VIII, and to touch deeply upon the affect. How does it feel to touch an art piece to life, to see its tonalities, and to harmoniously engage with others to dynamically reinvent the art?