Peter Baracchi, ORNAMENTAL WHITEOUT: Galerie SOON at sitem-insel

7 June - 16 July 2021

A transdisciplinary art project in collaboration with the translational research center “sitem-insel” and Gallery SOON in Berne. In this third exhibition at "sitem-insel" Peter Baracchi shows one of his latest projects "ORNAMENTAL WHITEOUT", which deals with tactile lines for visually impaired people, the strong contrasts and the perception of these patterns in urban space.

sitem-insel, the Swiss Institute for Translational and Entrepreneurial Medicine, is a

catalyst for a multidisciplinary collaborative approach to unlocking 'bench to

bedside' innovation. It brings together academia, government, industry, and science

in one place with a mission to establish, operate and develop a National Center of

Excellence for Translational Medicine that professionalizes translation research for

the benefit of patients, society and science.


For one of his latest art projects "ORNAMENTAL WHITEOUT", Peter Baracchi deals

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



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.


For the monochromatic 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



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.




Installation Views