Jeremy Millar

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Neutral (Diluted) (Page: 1/2)

Diluted ink on paper
25.4 x 17.8cm

These six works are a selection from an ongoing series inspired by two important books: François Jullien’s In Praise of Blandness and Roland Barthes’ The Neutral. In In Praise of Blandness, Jullien, a prestigious sinologist, presents the Chinese notion of blandness (dan) as markedly different from its perception in the West; whereas we might consider it as a lack of particular defining qualities, within Chinese aesthetics it is considered the balanced and unnameable union of all possible values; as richness. Drawing, also, upon many eastern thinkers, Barthes’ book consists of a series of lectures given at the Collège de France in 1978 in which he considers possible embodiments of the Neutral (such as sleep, or silence, for example) or of the anti-Neutral (such as anger, or arrogance). Of particular inspiration for Barthes, also, was a bottle of ink he bought from the Sennelier shop, and which he spilled upon his return home; the colour was ‘Neutral’. I also bought some bottles of this ink from the Sennelier shop, (and, coincidentally, on the same day as Barthes — 9 March) with which I made these works.