“I prefer black and white, it eliminates the distraction of color.“
In line David Baily‘s thoughts, Daniel Blau focuses on the essential aspects of imagery, and looks at contemporary art from a desaturated point of view. The exhibition Black and White presented at Art Basel 2015 featured an exclusive selection of predominantly monochromatic works on paper by artists such as Georg Baselitz, Anselm Kiefer, Markus Lupertz and A.R Penck, as well as NASA large-formats photographs taken of the lunar surface in 1967. Hanging from the booth’s walls, the iconic silk-screen print on canvas of Mick Jagger with fur taken by Bailey in 1965, perfectly expressed the graphic power of black-and-white portraits, which reveal the most subtle shades of emotions. The influx of the American Pop Art movement and commercial advertising in the 60’s brought color into many contemporary art productions. However a number of emerging artists refrained from producing “Ersatzkunst” and kept up the traditional “restraint” of drawing in black, albeit with frequent highlights in white or even color. This can be easily seen in the works of A.R Penck, who, despite his eclectic use of colors, still has a strong monochromatic approach. Also the first attempts of understanding our cosmos came in black-and-white, as exemplified by the outstanding NASA pictures from the unmanned Lunar Orbiter V mission in 1967. The Orbiter’s integrated laboratory sub-system produced unprecedented high resolution images photographically capturing the full Moon’s surface. The prints’ making process offers an outstanding example of the pioneering engineering developments of that time. Comprising of collated filmstrips, the pictures were developed and scanned on board the Orbiter before radio signals relayed the data back to the ground control stations on Earth. Small glitches and marks make them truly unique documents on one of the most important steps of mankind’s history. By cutting to the chase, Daniel Blau successfully celebrated the human triumph in art and science, ultimately in its warmest shades of grey.