The October Colouring-In Book
- Common-Editions: London, 2015
- ISBN 978 0 9931563 0 4
Since its launch in 1976 October has been the single most influential journal of art history and criticism. Yet in nearly 40 years of publication not a single image has been reproduced in colour.
This series of drawings (2012-13) disrupt October’s orderly monochromatic universe with circles, triangles and rectangles of brilliant transparent colour and planes of opaque black. Drawn over every page of October no. 1 (summer 1976), the varied abstract compositions interrupt the intended ‘textual clarity’ of the journal with a carnivalesque play of form and colour.
The Luminous and the Grey
- Reaktion Books: London, 2014
- ISBN 978 1 78023 280 5
Colour is a given of most people's everyday lives, but at the same time it lies at the limits of language and understanding. Chromophobia addressed the extremes of love and loathing that colour has provoked since antiquity. This book charts more ambiguous terrain.
The Luminous and the Grey is a voyage to places where colour comes into being and where it fades away, an inquiry into when colour begins and when it ends, both in the material world and in the imagination. Batchelor draws on a wide range of material, including neuroscience, philosophy, literature, film and the writings of artists; and makes use of his own experience as an artist who has worked with colour for more than twenty years.
After considering the place of colour in some creation myths, in industrial chemistry, in recent thinking on optics and in the specific forms of luminosity that saturate the modern city, this book culminates in a meditation on the unique colour that is also a non-colour, a mood, a feeling, an existential condition and even an insult: grey.
- Fruitmarket Gallery: Edinburgh, 2013
- ISBN 978 1 908612 19 9
Published to coincide with the exhibition held at Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh and Spike Island, Bristol. Contains reproductions of drawings made since 1997 and more recent paintings from the Colour Chart series. Also includes an interview with the artist and the Andrea Schilieker and essays by Fiona Bradley and Rudi Fuchs.
- Ridinghouse: London, 2010
- ISBN 978 1 905464 32 6
Since 1997, David Batchelor has been photographing single square and rectangular white planes and panels that he has encountered on walks through London and other cities. The images are informal and impromptu; shot from a uniform distance the white planes are seen against a diversity of backdrops: brick walls, car windows, wooden doors, metal fences and more. They are the backs of signs, blank screens, empty billboards, or faded messages. Batchelor started this body of work when thinking about the history of the monochrome in painting. There are now nearly 500 monochromes in the ongoing series and examples have been shown in small groups of prints and in slide installations. This volume, which contains the first 250 images, taken between 1997 and 2006, includes a conversation between David Batchelor and the philosopher Jonathan Rée.
- Whitechapel: London / MIT Press: Boston, 2008
- ISBN 978 0 854881 60 4
Edited by David Batchelor, Colour, is one in a series of books that document major themes and ideas in contemporary art. This chronological anthology reflects on the aesthetic, cultural and philosophical meaning of colour to artists within the broader context of anthropology, literature, film, philosophy and science. It includes over 130 texts written since c.1850 and concludes that those who loathe colour have had as much to say as those who love it. It establishes colour as a key if often overlooked theme in the story of modern art, and is an indispensable handbook to the definitions and debates around its history, meaning and use.
- Talbot Rice Gallery: Edinburgh, 2007
- ISBN 1 873108 53 2
Published on the occasion of the exhibition Unplugged held at the Talbot Rice Gallery in Edinburgh in 2007. Contains installation shots and documentation of the Parapillar series and a ten year survey of drawings. Includes an essay by Briony Fer and a conversation between David Batchelor and Pat Fisher.
- Ikon Gallery: Birmingham, 2004
- ISBN 0 907594 96 4
Publication produced to accompany the exhibition Shiny Dirty held at the Ikon Gallery in Birmingham in 2004. Includes an essay by Richard Noble and an interview with David Batchelor by Clarrie Wallis.
- Reaktion Books: London, 2000
- Reprinted 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009
- English, French, Spanish, Italian, German, Korean, Portugese, Greek and Japanese editions
- ISBN 978 1 861890 74 0
The central argument of Chromophobia is that a chromophobic impulse – a fear of corruption or contamination through colour – lurks within much Western cultural and intellectual thought. This is apparent in the many and varied attempts to purge colour, either by making it the property of some foreign body – the oriental, the feminine, the infantile, the vulgar, or the pathological – or by relegating it to the realm of the superficial, the supplementary, the inessential, or the cosmetic. Chromophobia has been a cultural phenomenon since ancient Greek times; this book is concerned with the motivations behind chromophobia and with forms of resistance to it. Batchelor considers the work of a wide range of writers and artists and explores diverse imagery including Herman Melville's ‘Great White Whale’, Aldous Huxley's ‘Reflections on Mescaline’, Le Corbusier's Journey to the East and L Frank Baum’s Wizard of Oz. Batchelor also discusses the use of colour in Pop, Minimal, and more recent art.
- Tate Publications: London, 1997
- Reprinted 2004
- English, Spanish, Portugese, Brazillian, Portugese, Dutch, Danish and Swedish editions
- ISBN 978 0 521627 59 7
While the term Minimalism has been applied to a vide variety of art, this book is concerned with the origins of the term in the 1960s and its application to a range of work that was typically abstract, three-dimensional, modular, geometric, preconceived in design and industrial in execution. This introduction examines the implications of these characteristics and the work of five key artists – Carl Andre, Dan Flavin, Donald Judd, Sol LeWitt and Robert Morris. As well as looking at what these works had in common, the author also highlights some of the important differences in the development and direction of each artist's work. Batchelor also looks at the varied types of criticism and interpretation to which Minimalism has been subjected over the years. It ends by discussing how Minimalism has informed the work of many contemporary artists.