Archives for category: White Space

Kazuo Ohno The Written Face

Ignore some of the narration like ‘fetal purity” then this is informative

But this is Genius

James Turrell: Exploring Light 1.



My Dad wanted to called me Claude, he hated me! he called me Pete

Supporting Courseware

John Pawson



The class of Buddhist scriptures known as the “Buddha-nature” (tathāgatagarbha) sutras presents a seemingly variant understanding of emptiness, wherein the Buddha Nature, the Buddha and Liberation are seen as transcending the realm of the empty (i.e. of the conditioned and dependently originated). Some scholars, however, view such teachings as metaphorical, not to be taken literally. Other Buddhist monks/scholars disagree with this claim.

The Tathāgatagarbha Sutras portray emptiness in a positive way. The Buddha nature genre of sutras can be seen as an attempt to state orthodox Buddhist teachings of dependent origination using positive language instead, to prevent people from being turned away from Buddhism by a false impression of nihilism.

In these sutras the perfection of the wisdom of not-self is stated to be the true self. The ultimate goal of the path is characterized using a range of positive language that had been used in Indian philosophy previously by essentialist philosophers, but which was now transmuted into a new Buddhist vocabulary to describe a being who has successfully completed the Buddhist path.


Emptiness is a key concept in Buddhist philosophy, or more precisely, in the ontology of Mahayana Buddhism. The phrase “form is emptiness; emptiness is form” is perhaps the most celebrated paradox associated with Buddhist philosophy. It is the supreme mantra. The expression originates from the Prajna Paramita Hridaya Sutra, commonly known as the Heart Sutra, which contains the philosophical essence of about six hundred scrolls making up the Maha Prajna Paramita. The Heart Sutra is the shortest text in this collection. It belongs to the oldest Mahayana texts and presumably originated in India around the time of Jesus Christ.

The Heart Sutra.
Translation by Edward Conze

Homage to the Perfection of Wisdom, the Lovely, the Holy!

“Here, Sariputra, form is emptiness and the very emptiness is form; emptiness does not differ from form, form does not differ from emptiness; whatever is form, that is emptiness, whatever is emptiness, that is form, the same is true of feelings, perceptions, impulses and consciousness.” From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


In their US exile, Mies van der Robe, the last Bauhaus director in Berlin, and his staff were dubbed White Gods by author Tom Wolfe.

In chapter three of From Bauhaus to Our House, “The White Gods,” Tom Wolfe recounts what he sees as the almost instant change in course in American architecture after the German Modernists began arriving in the late 1930s as refugees from the Nazi regime. From: Bauhaus to Our House, Architectural Education overthrown Posted by ELMalvaney ⋅ April 22, 2009

Tom Wolfe | From Bauhaus to Our House

The feel of a Bauhaus interior is contemporary and modern. Plain white walls with no moldings and narrow baseboards are de rigueur.  Window frames should be simple.  Huge picture windows, even walls of glass, are emblematic of this style.  The floor plan should be as open as possible, and the space divided with modular furniture, low cabinets or bookcases or perhaps a partial wall made of glass bricks.

Mies van der Rohe

Farnsworth House, Plano, Illinois
Mies van der Rohe, Architect

With his The Poetics of Space, published in 1958, Bachelard was making the same point regarding modern architecture’s organization of space on the basis of abstract Cartesian coordinates, an organization which leads to the loss of the “tonalization of being” (Bachelard, 1969, p. 231), yielding much of our contemporary art and architecture with its large-scale coldness, while meeting all the criteria of function, utility and efficiency.

Philosopher Gaston Bachelard published The Poetics of Space in 1958, many years into a prolific and prestigious career in science and French academe. A rationalist who believed rational thought was an ill-fitting framework for exploring the imagination, dream worlds, and poetics, Bachelard was nevertheless intensely interested in exactly these realms. In this book, he proposes a rethinking of space based on lived experience, risen from one’s intimate experiences in/with them. His phenomenology of architecture, then, is most concerned with the house (or its alter ego, the dream house), the nest, corner nooks, and the inner cove of a seashell. Bachelard addresses these spaces, winningly, with fondness: “Wardrobes with their shelves, desks with their drawers, and chests with their false bottoms are veritable organs of the secret psychological life. Indeed, without these ‘objects’ and a few others in equally high favor, our intimate life would lack a model of intimacy….Does there exist a single dreamer of words who does not respond to the word wardrobe?”

In Praise of Shadows (陰翳礼讃 In’ei Raisan?) is an essay on Japanese aesthetics by the Japanese author and novelist Jun’ichirō Tanizaki. It was translated into English by the academic students of Japanese literature Thomas Harper and Edward Seidensticker.

What incredible pains the fancier of traditional architecture must take when he sets out to build a
house in pure Japanese style, striving somehow to make electric wires, gas pipes, and water lines
harmonize with the austerity of Japanese rooms—even someone who has never built a house for
himself must sense this when he visits a teahouse, a restaurant, or an inn. For the solitary
eccentric it is another matter, he can ignore the blessings of scientific civilization and retreat to
some forsaken corner of the countryside; but a man who has a familiy and lives In the city cannot
turn his back on the necessities of modern life—heating, electric lights, sanitary facilities—
merely for the sake of doing things the Japanese way. The purist may rack his brain over the
placement of a single telephone, hiding it behind the staircase or in a corner of the hallway,
wherever he thinks it will least offend the eye. He may bury the wires rather than hang them in
the garden, hide the switches in a closet or cupboard, run the cords behind a folding screen. Yet
for all his ingenuity, his efforts often impress us as nervous, fussy, excessively contrived. For so
accustomed are we to electric lights that the sight of a naked bulb beneath an ordinary mild glass
shade seems simpler and more natural than any gratuitous attempt to hide it. Seen at dusk as one
gazes out upon the countryside from the window of a train, the lonely light of a bulb under an
old-fashioned shade, shining dimly from behind the white paper shoji of a thatch-roofed
farmhouse, can seem positively elegant.
But the snarl and the bulk of an electric fan remain


Alfred Hamilton Barr, Jr. (January 28, 1902 – August 15, 1981)

Alfred H . Barr . Jr , director of the Museum of Modern Art , MoMA , is credited for transforming the white cube concept into a functionalist ideology that conveyed purity and restraint , hence setting up the canon for modern art

On White Space-When Less Is More: by Keith Robertson
White space has always been with graphic design. White space could
simply be understood, in a value free sort of way, as negative space – that
area not occupied by image, headline, and copy. The problem however,
when assessing a void, is that a void so easily fills up with meaning.

White space is extravagance. White space is the surface of the paper on which you are printing showing through and on which you are choosing NOT to print. If economy and conservation were your chief concern, then white space would be at minimum; obviously you would use it all up. So white space is used for purely semiotic values; for values of presentation which transcend economic values by insisting that the image of what you present is more important than the paper you could be saving. It is likely that this aesthetic is more extravagant with paper than any other graphic design value – especially in Japan. Printing plates, separations, paper and four or more colour presses still have to be used and paid for with the inclusion of white space. White space is a negative cost right down the production line – except for giving style. Originally Published in Émigré no.26, 1993

White Space: Wikipedia

In page layout, illustration and sculpture, white space is often referred to as negative space. It is that portion of a page left unmarked: the space between graphics, margins, gutters, space between columns, space between lines of type or figures and objects drawn or depicted. The term arises from graphic design practice, where printing processes generally use white paper.

White space should not be considered merely ‘blank’ space — it is an important element of design which enables the objects in it to exist at all, the balance between positive (or non-white) and the use of negative spaces is key to aesthetic composition.

Ma (Negative Space)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Shōrin-zu byōbu — left side of a diptych by Hasegawa Tōhaku

Ma (間) is a Japanese word which can be roughly translated as “gap”, “space”, “pause” or “the space between two structural parts.”[1][2][3][4] The spatial concept is experienced progressively through intervals of spatial designation. In Japanese, ma, the word for space, suggests interval. It is best described as a consciousness of place, not in the sense of an enclosed three-dimensional entity, but rather the simultaneous awareness of form and non-form deriving from an intensification of vision.

Ma is not something that is created by compositional elements; it is the thing that takes place in the imagination of the human who experiences these elements. Therefore ma can be defined as experiential place understood with emphasis on interval.

Architectural Space

Space is a concept that is central to many different areas of study and has varied meanings, ranging from totally abstract notions such as mathematical space, to physical ones such as astronomical space, to more earthly ones such as the expanse that surrounds us, to behavioral notions such as territorial space and personal space. “This great variety of possible ‘types’ of space … makes any definition of space [in planning and design] difficult. Intuitively, however, space is the three-dimensional extension of the world around us, the intervals, distances and relationships between people and people, people and things, and things and things” (Rapoport 1980, 11). Although they are thought to have bearing on and are influenced by space to some extent (Rapoport 1980, 26-27), people to people relations have a scope that extends much beyond the interests of this paper. However, the relations between people and things shall be included insofar as they define and affect the use of space as outlined below.

Malevich’s ‘White on White’

Mark Rothko

The Rothko Chapel, founded by Houston philanthropists John and Dominique de Menil, was dedicated in 1971 as an intimate sanctuary available to people of every belief. A tranquil meditative environment inspired by the mural canvases of Russian born American painter Mark Rothko (1903-1970), the Chapel welcomes over 60,000 visitors each year, people of every faith and from all parts of the world.  On the plaza, Barnett Newman’s sculpture, Broken Obelisk, stands in memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Donald Judd

The Writings of Donald Judd
A symposium hosted by the Chinati Foundation, May 3-4, 2008

Donald Judd was an American born painter, writer and sculptor. His work placed him at the forefront of the Minimalist movement of the 1960s and 1970s. Judd rejected Abstract Expressionism through lack of imagery, composition, and by reducing painting and sculpture to its basic elements through using natural light, simple lines, industrial materials, and solid colors on flat surfaces. Therefore replacing the metaphor with literal truth. Possessing a strong allegiance to philosophy and theory, Judd’s unique perspective on art and art-making resulted in a revolutionary and innovative aesthetic that would defy conventional artistic ideals.

Key Ideas

  • Judd is known for using a repertoire of three forms known as, ‘stacks’, ‘boxes’, and ‘progressions’ that he used throughout 30 years of his career.
  • Judd was a preeminent figure and at the forefront of Minimalism, a term which he detested, of the 1960s and early 1970s.
  • He wrote for major art publications as a perceptive, tough, and opinionated art critic of the postwar period.
  • Judd believed that art should no longer be representational nor presume to describe human emotion. It should purely just be.
  • Judd’s work is governed by a unique combination of reductive and highly distilled geometric forms.

Stuttgart, Le Coubusier, 1927

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