© 2017, Peter Baracchi

ORNAMENTAL WHITEOUT – solo exhibition @ Galerie SOON, Bern

2-component cold plastic on canvas on wooden panels

[cut out], 2017-2019
DIN-A4 asphalt blocs, lacquer

In his artistic practice, Baracchi reduces and compresses the visual impressions that characterize our modern western environment and everyday life, skillfully transforms them into another language of form and finally presents them in a new context, sometimes with a wink of the eye. Peter Baracchi is most interested in such contextual changes. This results in a diverse and multi-layered work that illuminates social phenomena, sharpens perception and can sometimes lead to surprising discoveries.

For his current project "ORNAMENTAL WHITEOUT", the artist deals with the ubiquitous road markings of urban city centers. The forms, characterised by geometry and symmetry, have a clear function in public space. Baracchi breaks down the markings, which function as rules, commandments and prohibitions into their graphic elements, literally tears them out of context to reassemble them into something new. This way, he succeeds in shifting the detailed order of our environment a little and at the same time putting it into the spotlight of our attention.

He was particularly taken with the tactile guidelines for blind and visually impaired people, which were initially found only in the vicinity of railway stations and have been meandering alongside the sidewalks throughout the whole city since then. Through the regularity and the precise, geometric arrangement of those fine, white lines, an ornamental pattern is created which - often unnoticed by a large part of the population - adorns our street scene.

For the new paintings on canvas of the current series "ORNAMENTAL WHITEOUT", Peter Baracchi uses the rich fund of tactile markings as his inspiration - always adhering to the legal norms of course. The original road marking paint is poured onto the canvas by means of official stencils at the correct intervals and is brought together by ever new combinations of graphic elements to form entirely new, abstract patterns. The resulting works are in direct reference to various styles of art history, such as Constructivism and Concrete Art.

The separation of the white ornament from the black asphalt and the transfer to the white canvas on the wall of a classic white cube results in the "ORNAMENTAL WHITEOUT".

A whiteout is a meteorological phenomenon that occurs mainly in polar regions and high mountains. A snow-covered ground and subdued sunlight result in the disappearance of the horizon; ground and sky merge seamlessly. Even contours or shadows are no longer recognizable and the observer has the feeling of being in a completely empty, infinitely extended grey space.

This means that the lines lose their original function and their language. They're no longer legible. They can no longer lead or stop or warn. They lead us into emptiness. The disorientation of the observer occurs.