My perception of white space is that it could be referred to as negative space. In illustration, graphics, photography, its the part of the image left unmarked, the part that makes it less cluttered. I think that having this space left untouched allows the artist to draw attention to the most important part of the image. It allows the imagery to not be too busy, to stand out, to allow the mind to process it better. Another way I interpreted the term is that it is an artist's platform to think with a clear mind.
A SPACE ODYSSEY
WHITE SPACE IN FILM
STANLEY KUBRICK'S 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY
In this film there is a scene in which the background is entirely washed out in comparison to the main subject. The furniture, the walls, the floor, its all pale or consisting of neutral colours. The effect of this is that the audience's attention is undivided from said character as there is nothing surrounding to distract them. I think the use of this is effective as I notice myself automatically looking at the brightest thing in the room. Methods like this are often used in other films such as Star Wars too (in the desert scenes for example - shown below), as it's an easy way to make sure the audience are focused on the main character of that scene and nothing else. This almost blank background is also effective in photography or illustration. More times than not, theres a main focus and then a washed out or minimal background so as to compliment the main attraction but not over power it.
STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS - DESERT SCENE
WHITE SPACE IN SCREENPRINT
This artist on the flip side, uses white space to draw attention to things he wants the audience to focus on rather than as a background. I found this interesting as the artist has used white to wash over the subjects face and to cover someones facial features means to cover someones emotions or thoughts, ultimately covering the persons consciousness and their personality. If you can't tell how someone is feeling it can be extremely uncomfortable to be on the receiving end of. If the facial expression of the person in the print below was negative it would give the print a whole different outlook. Not only has the artist white washed the persons face but also their genitals. This in my mind is putting the person face on the same level of importance or unimportance as their sexual organs. The image below could feature a male or female, we couldn't tell unless this white layer was able to be peeled off.
JACOB BEN COHEN - SCREENPRINT
"CUT WITH A KITCHEN Knife DADA THROUGH THE LAST WEIMAR BEER BELLY CULTURAL EPOCH OF GERMANY" (DADAISM)
PRIMARY RESEARCH IMAGES
BRIAN ENO - OBLIQUE STRATEGIES
This artist created a deck of cards in which had phrases on them to help promote creativity. A way to help artists and musicians with creative blocks, as a sort of stimulus for thought. They contain dilemmas or challenges on them for the artist to think about, do, respond to etc. They give a kind of starting point and/or something to develop with on from a project. I think they're effective as they could make you think twice about something you've done or even make you think about something thats never crossed your mind before to include in your art.
Written by Andre Breton in 1924, the surrealists manifesto challenged the ordinary. Opening the manifesto with, "we are still living under the reign of logic,” Breton as well as many other artists following these ideals, refused to create things as they really were. Surrealism heavily leaned on the subconscious - what happens in the mind without us realising it - as well as focusing on the weird. Making the audience feel odd or perhaps uncomfortable with what they're seeing. It could just be abnormal for everyday life, maybe something they haven't seen before, or something placed in an unusual place.
"UN CHIEN ANDALOU"
"Known as Dadaists, these creatives looked for alternative modes of social functioning that would disengage them from the unsavoury reality of the times, and which would produce a new social ordering more aligned with their desires and wishes."
Dadaism was a movement that started during WWI, and aimed to help to stop the war as well as vent frustration with the nationalist and bourgeois conventions that had led to it.
"Fountain" by Marcel Duchamp
This urinal slightly altered by Duchamp has become iconic due to it having been removed from its usual environment and placed into an art gallery for people to see in a different light and perhaps question why it is there. That was one of the main things that interested me about this piece, the power the artist has to fool any audience. Place anything in a gallery and its down to the artist to convince the audience its worthy of being there.
"Cut with a Kitchen Knife Dada through the Last Weimar Beer Belly Cultural Epoch of Germany" by Hannah Höch
This collaged piece is Hoch's political statement, with newspaper clippings of anti dadaism articles and all things that were current to her and the world around her at the time. I liked this piece because of how messy it is at first glance, but after looking at the piece for long enough you start to see new things you may not have seen when you first looked at it. There are many hidden images within the collage, I like that you have to focus to find new things.
"L.H.O.O.Q" by Marcel Duchamp - 1919
The mocking of the Mona Lisa instantly caught my attention as it would anyone, due to it being such a well known painting. It is a painting treasured and protected, and Duchamp - an artist with a sense of humour - challenges people to think as to why its so treasured? What is so special about this painting of a woman? To take away this status, he has taken a postcard and drawn on top of it facial hair as well as the letters "L.H.O.O.Q" which sound out the French sentence: "She has a hot arse." It is not just mocking of the painting but an interpretation of it. It is argued that Divinchi saw the male form in the female and therefore this is some kind of self portrait.
WHITE SPACE IN PHOTOGRAPHY
I felt that this photographer in particular used white space in an interesting way because as a street photographer he had to find the white space already existing, its white space in an uncontrolled environment rather than white space he himself placed there. This use of white space in the image below I found quite hard hitting, as it looks like someone who is struggling for comfort and warmth has taken away from the - what would've been - perfect white background, in order to try and wrap up.
ERIC KIM STREET PHOTOGRAPHY
EXAMPLES OF SURREALIST WORK
"Un Chien Andalou" a film by Salvador Dalí and Luis Buñuel - 1928.
In the still image shown below from the movie, a woman's eye is about to be sliced. Even though it hasn't yet happened it is extremely uncomfortable to look at as you know what is to come/what to anticipate, building up an uncomfortable tension.
"The Persistence of Memory", painting by Salvador Dali - 1931.
This painting is Dali's ode to time. It focuses on dream states and how in your dreams nothing is as it seems. Objects that are usually very sturdy are now limp in these paintings. The almost melted looking clocks in the image made me think about how time is something that humans came up with, it's not something that will determine if the sun will rise or if the moon will come out, it's just something people have created in order to help them organise their days. This is something I think about a lot, because anything that isn't natural has been designed and made for some kind of purpose, and things like time are universally understood and used whilst not actually being real.
"THE PERSISTENCE OF MEMORY"
LARS VON TRIER 'THE FIVE OBSTRUCTIONS"
"The Five Obstructions" is a documentary based on Lars Von Trier challenging his friend to remake his favourite film "The Perfect Human" five times and each time with an obstacle. These challenges involved things such as changing the location, going somewhere unthinkable to film, remaking the film as a cartoon, and many many more.
"THE FIVE OBSTRUCTIONS"
George Maciunas was considered to be the first person to organise this movement. The Fluxus movement challenged the ideas around what art is and what makes said thing a piece of art work. Just like Dadaists, these artists did not believe in the authority of galleries. The power they had to say whether something was or wasn't good enough to be displayed.
"Total Art Matchbox" by Ben Vautier - 1966
"To Change Art Destroy Ego" by Ben Vautier - 1935
"Zen for Film" by- 1964/1965