Sunday, 29 November 2009

Trois Couleurs: Blanc

If blue is liberté or freedom, white is the colour of egalité, or equality. A difficult subject however, as Krzysztof Kieślowski, director of the film Trois Couleurs: Blanc points out; "The concept of equality suggests that we are all equal, but I don't believe that can be true. Nobody really wants to be the equal of another. Everybody wants to be more equal". A murky concept for a colour that is never quite what it seems to be either.

White is not a colour, but white is all of the colours combined. White is the light before refraction, but nothing without another colour to provide contrast. Equality is contradiction.

White is also tellingly absent from the official colours of the city of Paris, which display just the red and blue. White the colour of the royal family and the Catholic church, not the colour of the people. White a colour that nevertheless seems to be everywhere in the city - until you look more closely. It's a pale city, not a white city, but can any city ever be truly white? Wipe it clean, but time, dust and fingerprints soon bring the colours back.

8 comments:

ArtSparker said...

That door is closing, whether it wills or not.

Peter said...

"The slope makes up for my laziness", whoever invented this phrase (?), I saw it also on a Montmartre wall somewhere ... where of course the slopes are not missing.

A very nice summary of the white in the tricolour!

Adam said...

Peter: I seem to remember that I found this one in Montmartre too - perhaps in the Rue des Martyrs. Your translation is perfect - I was struggling to think of a phrase, and then forgot! I remember trying to find if the words had come from a well known poem or song, but couldn't find it anywhere. I guess it must be something similar to Amelie Poulain writing extracts from the work of a struggling poet on the wall!

Cergie said...

J'avais vu ton précédent message sur le bleu et avait déjà songé à la trilogie. J'attends le rouge à présent. Lors de nos vacances nous avons parlé avec notre cousin du blanc pour les voitures. Couleur très recherchée en Guyane où il fait si chaud et moins en métropole.
Notre Renault Espace est blanc. Nous avons choisi cette couleur car elle est une "non-couleur", je ne sais qui emploie cette définition. Et pourtant, tu l'as bien noté, que de blancs différents. Il n'est qu'à voir l'émail des dents ou l'orient d'un collier de perles. Un beau collier de perles a un "orient" qui s'accorde avec la couleur de la carnation de chaque femme.
Et le blanc des murs d'un appartement, selon qu'il est brillant ou mat, est tout autre.

Au fait, nous sommes allés dans ton coin déjeuner dimanche rue de Belleville car notre fils était seul et cela nous a permis de voir si tout allait bien dans notre appartement.
Il y a un campement de "sans papiers" sur le haut, près de la Porte des Lilas...

Ken Mac said...

great old sign

Adam said...

Cergie: Yes, red is coming soon!

What was important for me with this exercise was to look through my photo archive and see how I had captured these three colours myself - in other words, how do I sub-consciously see blue, white and red in Paris?

On va se croiser à Belleville un jour, mais saurait-on?

Owen said...

And white is not easy to photograph either with digital cameras, was easier with TriX... still haven't entirely figured out the white balance business... but will get there... Love the snow on the tracks shot... and the chipped old sign (of course...)

Viola said...

Nice work!!!
Thanks for sharing this information

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