“As you move around the imperfect spheres suspended from the ceiling, they merge, the colour interacts and the eye focuses on a swatch of colour before its attention is caught by another slowly spinning object. The aim of the work is optical, the phenomenology and act of looking is brought into focus as we observe the effects of colour on our ways of seeing.”
Review for Flatlands at Spike Island, Bristol, Curated by Andrea Shlieker, 2014
By Rory Duckhouse for Aesthetic Magazine
Image courtesy the Artist and Ingleby Gallery, Edinburgh
Disco Mechanique (2008), Candela (2006) and Magic Hour (2004-8) (pictured above) represent Batchelor’s ‘3D’ work, a line of practice aesthetically dissimilar to his work shown in Between poles and tides. With these works Batchelor’s affinity to colour is displayed not through studio made artworks, but instead, found and re-purposed objects. By placing the artificial, fluorescent and plastic colours of the found objects against the grey permanence of their surroundings, Batchelor is further highlighting the objects acidic, chemical character.
Photographs © Ruth Clark. Courtesy The Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh, 2013
Colour is single … (Walter Benjamin)
Colour is the shattering of unity (Julia Kristeva)
Colour exists in itself (Henri Matisse)
Colour cannot stand alone (Wassily Kandinsky)
Colour … is new each time (Roland Barthes)
Colour is the experience of a ratio (William H. Gass)
Colour is a poor imitator (Bernard Berenson)
Colour deceives continuously (Josef Albers)
Colour is an illusion, but not an unfounded illusion (C.L. Hardin)
Colour is like a closing eyelid, a tiny fainting spell (Roland Barthes)
Colour must be seen (Walter Benjamin)
Colour … is the peculiar characteristic of the lower forms of nature (Charles Blanc)
Colour is suited to simple races, peasants and savages (Le Corbusier)
Colour is accidental and has nothing in common with the innermost essence of the thing (Naum Gabo and Anton Pevsner)
Colour seems to have a Queer bent! (Derek Jarman)
Colour can appear an unthinkable scandal (Stephen Melville)
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.