Whitewashing Tel Aviv
2017-2018, photo-book with paintings, 66 pages
Indomitable modernist architect arrives in one of the most modernist cities on the planet – Tel Aviv – and feels about misanthropy. He sees glassed balconies, pilotis laid with bricks, air conditioners on facades… He grabs a brush, Ripolin and begins to save a city desperately. The hegemony of vision is absolute. Traces of life and history have to be erased. The city appears without inhabitants, untouched by time, super clean, luminous and totally empty.
It's an old modernist’s idea to build a world anew, to make a perfect man (übermensch). The Coat of Whitewash aims at purifying the eye as well as a house.
They told me that the city is white. Do you see white? I don’t see any white.
Architect Jean Nouvel standing on the rooftop, looking at Tel Aviv for the first time in his life, November 1995
Every citizen is required to replace his hangings, his damasks, his wall-papers, his stencils, with a plain coat of white Ripolin*. His home is made clean. There are no more dirty., dark corners. Everything is shown as it is.
Once you have put Ripolin on your walls you will be master of yourself. And you will want to be precise, to be accurate, to think clearly.
Architect Le Corbusier, A Coat of Whitewash, The Law of Ripolin,
1925 L’Esprit Nouveau Articles, Architectural Press, Oxford, 19981
*Ripolin is a brand of paint. This name became synonymous with enamel paints in general and entered the French dictionary as early as 1907.