The Nivea personal care brand recently acquired a small Shitstorm with the advertising campaign for a transparent deodorant. The slogan for the motif with a blond woman in a white bathrobe: “White is Purity”. Apart from the fact that this is not the first time that Nivea has been confronted with the accusation of an ethnically monochromatic way of thinking, a brand that lives primarily from skin care products should actually know how “pure” “white” is… Perhaps those responsible for marketing for the next campaign should call on Dutch artist Ties Ten Bosch as a consultant in addition to a somewhat more diverse team.
The project space Lage Egal also lives up to its name in that it constantly manifests itself in new places. The location of the latest satellite room “In the Rackroom” may not matter, but its artistic presentation is site-specific. With his installation “From Scratch,” Ties Ten Bosch provides a kind of scavenger hunt for the imperfect, all in white. Or, to put it another way, in whites.
Some whites are whiter than others
Some whites are whiter than others, some rather pink, or yellowish, or fresh, or pale, or whatever, you can imagine when you’re not working at Nivea. But the experience of the infinite variety and depth of “white” in this installation is not limited to the fact that all works, from canvases to sculptural elements, are kept in shades of white. There is also a little puzzle game in which Ten Bosch has enriched his works with intended traces of the imperfect. Here the edge of a stele is repelled, there one is slightly crooked, over there you can see a few coarsely filled drill holes… And because the room itself, as is still typical for Berlin exhibition spaces, is also not exactly perfect with the floor that is not completely flat, the notches in the windowsill and the hooks in the ceiling that could still stem from the last installation, the observer’s eye wonders all the time whether it has discovered a trace laid by the artist or has exaggerated its ambition to detect the last nuance in the perfectly imperfect white noise.
Art is always dependent on the space in which it is shown
With the installation of a work, one is faced with the challenge of using the conditions of the space while at the same time asserting oneself against them. Ten Bosch has combined these two necessities into a unity, leaving the viewer’s eye to decide on the weighting between art and space. And because this weighting may have to be redefined with each newly discovered detail, it is possible to spend some time in this small space. Besides, there is another insight that can be taken along: No matter how “pure” the thought is, what art wants to present to you, it is always contaminated, because you bring in yourself when you look at it. Purity only works for people without eyes in their heads.