David Batchelor has worked tirelessly on the development, evolution and promotion of colour theory within contemporary art. A distinguished writer and lecturer at the Royal College of Art, London, his practice is central in re-thinking and appropriating the endless artificial shades and hues found within the everyday and urban environment. Batchelor’s preoccupation with colour lies in the ways in which the habitual elements of the city; neon signs, electrical lighting, plastics and throwaway items, condition our emotional response to colour.
Batchelor’s extensive Found Monochrome series perfectly echoes this. Since he began his practice in 1992, Batchelor has been photographing found, blank, white rectangles and squares, highlighting the presence of coloured abstraction within the city. Each monochrome was discovered by chance when walking the streets of major international cities, from London to Mexico City.
Drawing conceptual parallels, although displaying an altered aesthetic to his Found Monochrome’s is his 2D Monochrome’s. The works in the 2D series are an exercise in the artificial display of pure colour. They are made through pouring a heavy layer of paint onto paper that is left to dry, with an occasional movement of the paper to create the distinctive and naturally rippled surface. Batchelor is absolute in promoting his works not as coloured objects but simply colour itself.
From this series, his work Colour Chart No 5 (Blue) 18.02.11 (2011) has been chosen for Between poles and tides, and can be viewed occupying an entire wall to the left of the entrance to Gallery One.
Batchelor is also the author of numerous books on colour theory, the most renowned of which being Chromophobia, which aims to address the asymmetry between colour and the often restrictive language which surrounds it.
Lauren Hawkins, Talbot Rice Gallery Intern.
Photographs © Ruth Clark. Courtesy The Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh, 2013