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The making of Biennale white, from concept to creation:The making of a biennale requires many different kinds of partnerships, forged over a wide span of time. In September, Asian Paints in Mumbai set out to create a custom white colour for Kochi-Muziris Biennale.

Making Of Biennale White:A unique collaboration between Asian Paints and Kochi-Muziris Biennale resulted into a “Biennale White” colour, which is now used at all the exhibition sites in Kochi.

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Lab 03 Jan 2017

Asian Paints and Kochi-Muziris Biennale collaborate to create the perfect white backdrop

In September 2016, three artists, Riyas Komu, Bose Krishnamachari and Sudarshan Shetty collaborated with the Research and Colour Team at Asian Paints to create a customised gallery white for the Kochi-Muziris Biennale.

Creating a colour is a magical process; it’s as much a science as it is an art. A colour is an expression – it has character, composition and depth and like a novel, tells a good story. This is the story of a unique collaboration between Asian Paints and Kochi-Muziris Biennale to create the signature White you may have walked past and around, if you were at the Kochi Muziris Biennale this year.

The making of Biennale white, from concept to creation:The making of a biennale requires many different kinds of partnerships, forged over a wide span of time. In September, Asian Paints in Mumbai set out to create a custom white colour for Kochi-Muziris Biennale.

With three artists in a room full of colour and paint enthusiasts, the conversation was animated from the get-go.

Making Of Biennale White:A unique collaboration between Asian Paints and Kochi-Muziris Biennale resulted into a “Biennale White” colour, which is now used at all the exhibition sites in Kochi.

On being asked the role of colour in a space that exhibits art, Bose highlighted the importance of “extremities” to view “bright colours, fresh colours [and an] actual painting.” Shetty asserts “the colour white is the colour that … sets itself apart from the world outside”. Komu reflects that “white is the colour that complements most of the works”.

The artists were then asked to choose from a few curated shades and pick “whites” that could be used in the creation of the new colour. Shetty remarked poignantly, “It’s great to be reminded that there is no single ‘White’ and there are many many whites possible … and the fact that we chose one colour after much back and forth. It is also a subjective choice in some ways, open [to] many interpretations, and we hope that interpretations are part of the Biennale in some ways.”

At the heart of the process is a great deal of experimentation. Making a colour is not an easy process and getting to the exact tone of white overcomes many permutations and combinations. From selecting the right raw materials, to the tinting process, and finally to the mixing of materials, every step is crucial. The resultant colours are then tested on white sheet and checked in different lights: day light, controlled light etc. Once colour is finalized, only then is the paint applied on the walls.

And just like that, a colour is born! This colour has been used across exhibition halls in Kochi and has made its way to the walls of every Biennale site. All that remained was the perfect name, for the perfect colour, which was finally christened ‘Biennale White’.

Pure and simple, yet layered and intricate, the colour white is a wonderful thing. Its complexity gives it the interpretative depth that the Biennale itself stands for.