David Batchelor

b. 1955, United Kingdom

David Batchelor is an artist and writer based in London. He was born in Dundee, Scotland in 1955. He studied Fine Art at Trent Polytechnic, Nottingham (1975-78), and Cultural Theory at Birmingham University (1978-80).

For thirty years Batchelor has been concerned with the experience of colour within a modern urban environment, and with historical conceptions of colour within Western culture. His work comprises sculpture, installation, drawing, painting, photography and animation. He has exhibited widely in the UK, continental Europe, the Americas and, more recently, the Middle East and Asia. Batchelor has also written a number of books and essays on colour theory, including Chromophobia (2000).

In 2022 Batchelor presented his first large-scale survey exhibition at Compton Verney Museum in Warwickshire. Titled Colour Is, and comprising nearly 200 works, the show included his earliest surviving black and white works from the 1980s through a wide range of his colour-based works from the 1990s to the present. It concluded with a body of large- and small-scale abstractions made in concentrated periods during the pandemic lockdowns of 2020-21. A new book, Concretos, which focusses on a range of sculptures with concrete bases, was published to coincide with the exhibition.

Other recent exhibitions include: My Own Private Bauhaus, Ingleby Gallery, Edinburgh (2019), Chromatology, Ab-Anbar Gallery, Tehran (2017); Monochrome Archive 1997-2015, Whitechapel Gallery, London (2015); Flatlands, Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh and Spike Island, Bristol (2013-14); Light Show (2013-16), Hayward Gallery, London, MAC Sydney, Sharjah Art Foundation and MAC Santiago; Chromophilia: 1995-2010, Paço Imperial, Rio de Janeiro (2010); Color Chart, Museum of Modern Art, New York (2008) and Tate Liverpool (2009); Extreme Abstraction, Albright Knox Gallery, Buffalo, New York (2005); the Biennial de Santiago, Chile (2005); Shiny Dirty, Ikon Gallery, Birmingham (2004); the 26th Bienal De São Paulo (2004);  Sodium and Asphalt, Museo Tamayo, Mexico City (2003); and Days Like These: Tate Britain Triennial of Contemporary Art, Tate Britain, London (2003).

Since the early 2000s Batchelor has received a number of commissions to make works in the public realm, some of which were temporary and some are permanent. These include: Homage to Dr. Mirabilis (Wesgate, Oxford, 2018); Sixty Minute Spectrum (Hayward Gallery, London, 2017); Chromorama, (Broadgate Estates, London, 2015); 19-20-21, (Lyric Theatre, London, 2014); Plato’s Disco (Whitworth Galleries, Manchester, 2014); Chromolocomotion (St Pancras International, London, 2014); Spectrum on the Hill (Hannan the Hill, Seoul); Spectrum of 1st. Street (NoMA, Washington DC); Hong Kong Fesdella (British Council, Hong Kong, 2010), Ten Silhouettes (Gloucester Road underground station, 2005); and Evergreen (More London, 2003).

Chromophobia, Batchelor’s book on colour and the fear of colour in the West, was published by Reaktion Books, London (2000), and is now available in ten languages. His more recent book, The Luminous and the Grey (2014), is also published by Reaktion. Colour (2008), an anthology of writings on colour from 1850 to the present, edited by Batchelor, is published by Whitechapel, London and MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass. His book of photographs, Found Monochromes: vol.1, nos.1-250 (2010), is published by Ridinghouse, London; his suite of drawings, The October Colouring-In Book (2015), is published by Common-Editions, London. Concretos (2022) is published by Anomie, London.