David Batchelor

David Batchelor has explored the properties and meanings of colour in great depth, drawing from art, science, literature, philosophy, film, music and anthropology.  He has written extensively, explaining  “Just as there are certain ways of thinking about colour that can only occur in the studio, so there are encounters with colour ideas that can only happen in writing.”  It is over twenty years since he published his seminal book Chromophobia, which probed the fear of colour in Western cultural traditions.  Yet parallel to his investigation into colour is a continuing dialogue with its absence. Batchelor’s book Found Monochromes (2010) charts his ongoing encounters with colour negated. Begun in 1997, the series gathers over 600 photographs of blank white square and rectangular panels found in cities all over the world.

Batchelor’s multi-disciplinary practice encompasses drawing, painting, sculpture and large-scale installations in which colour is the main protagonist. All the more astonishing then is the fact that for the first few years of his career he worked almost exclusively in black and white. His art-school training during the 1970s was heavily imbued with the kind of conceptual and minimal art which at best marginalised and at worst rejected colour, together with the values of utopian modernism associated with it, in what Duchamp dismissively referred to as ‘retinal’ art.  In Batchelor’s work these seemingly conflicting strands are succinctly merged using readily found materials conveying colour in all its forms, from household paint to fluorescent light, resulting in work of compelling aesthetic form.

David Batchelor
David Batchelor Extra-Concreto , 2021 Adhesive tape, composite panel, concrete

David Batchelor, Extra-Concreto, 2021, Adhesive tape, composite panel, concrete, 199 x 55.5 x 10 cm

Colourspace Installation


May 20 – July 31, 2021

Colourspace catalogue

Colourspace catalogue
COLOURSPACE David Batchelor, Ian Davenport, Lothar Götz, Jim Lambie, Annie Morris, Fiona Rae – Exhibition’s Catalogue

Curated by Catherine Loewe
Published by da Silvana Editoriale
Year: 2021

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