How to make visible what is not meant to be seen, but still exists all around us? In 1910, a Norwegian chemist filed a patent for the production method for a pigment that aesthetically changed all modern surfaces. The white pigment titanium dioxide (TiO2),called “the whitest white,” was capable of covering all other pigments, turning architecture whiter and brighter, and thereby materially accelerating modernism’s desire for inconspicuousness, durability, and homogenisation. Titanium dioxide revolutionised the global color industry by bringing onto the market a pure white paint that resisted discoloration due to dirt and rust. However, a bright future always has consequences. What is the darker side of modernism’s whitewalls? In this talk, Marte Johnslien and Ingrid Halland show how they investigate the materiality of white colour through a method they call an arts-based archaeology, which combines art and architecture history, archival documentation, fieldwork, environmental history, aesthetic philosophy, artistic research, and art practice.
Marte Johnslien is a visual artist and researcher wholives and works in Oslo, Norway. She is an associate professor in ceramic artat the Oslo National Academy of the Arts, department of Art and Craft, andholds a PhD in artistic research. She is the PI of the research projectTiO2:The Materiality of White (MoW), and Co-PI ofTiO2: How NorwayMade the World Whiter(NorWhite), in collaboration with art andarchitecture historian Ingrid Halland (UiO). Marte Johnslien’s work has beenincluded in exhibitions at the Norwegian National Museum of Art, Architectureand Design, The Astrup Fearnley Museum of Art, Norway, Museum of ContemporaryArt in Antwerp, and in the 12th Havana Biennial in Cuba. She has held soloexhibitions in Lillehammer Art Museum, Henie Onstad Art Center, Galleri Riisand Kristiansand Kunsthall, Norway. She is the recipient of the Einar GranumArt Award (2012). Her work is included in the collections of the NorwegianNational Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, KODE, Bergen, Henie Onstad ArtCenter, Sørlandet Art Museum and Lillehammer Art Museum. Marte Johnslien isrepresented by Galleri Riis, Norway and FOLD, London.