According to the common preconception, the skin of those from an African origin is “black,” while those from a Western origin are “white”. Obviously, such labels have nothing to do with the wide gamut of skin colors, which in any case is neither black nor white. Ingrid Mwangi and Robert Hutter, a couple who work together as artists, investigate in their work preconceptions related to skin color. Coming from an African and German background respectively, they repeatedly feature their own bodies in their work, in a way that, on the one hand, calls this dichotomy into question, and, on the other, makes their diverging skin colors into something of an artistic “trademark”.
Their video “4 times closer to what?” shows four balloons, two in black and two in white, that inflate in a regular rate so that we, as viewers, can anticipate the time of their explosion. When they blow up we witness, for a split second, the faces of the artists, who have been hidden inside all along. As it turns out, they were the ones who blew the air to inflate them. And, together with the balloons, it is also the cliché of skin color that blasts – literally – in our face.