Yael Kanarek, ‘White/Binary’, 2009, bitforms gallery
Yael Kanarek, ‘White/Binary’, 2009, bitforms gallery

White/Binary is inspired by two spiritual sources. First, Malevichʼs Suprematist Composition: White on White from 1918. Malevich described his aesthetic theory, Suprematism, as "the supremacy of pure feeling or perception in the pictorial arts." The second source is a Talmudic commentary that suggests that an idea can exist in two contradicting states – be a truth and a parable at the same time. In popular quantum physics this can be translated into the state where an element exist as a particle and a wave at the same time.

White/Binary articulates the mental space between the image received through our eyes and the image conjured in the imagination by words. It does so by utilizing contrast and relocation. The word, in four languages, English, Hebrew, Arabic and Yiddish, reads in black dense rubber the word ʻwhite.ʼ The composition frames a void in the center that hints at white. The rough, murky edges remind us that the borders between things are never concrete but exist in a state of flux and exchange. Thus, White/Binary is truth and a parable on white. White/Binary is also a fuzzy binary. Not a definite black and white. It proposes a cultural and geopolitical condition in which white is not exactly the opposite of black and white itself has multiple shapes and sounds.

White – English, Lavan – Hebrew, Weiss – Yiddish, Abiad - Arabic

About Yael Kanarek

Yael Kanarek’s multimedia works explore the relationship between language and emotion, between movement and identity. Her installations often feature words in delicate, lace-like strings of moulded rubber letters in multiple languages, including Hebrew, Arabic, and English. Kanarek is best known for her ongoing project begun in 1994, World of Awe, a virtual travelogue synthesizing photography, sculpture, and text. The fictional traveler is gender-less and nation-less, wandering in an alternate reality called Sunset/Sunrise and leaving behind love letters.

American, b. 1967, Israel, based in New York, New York