David Batchelor: Concretos
8 February - 16 March 2014
David Batchelor's first exhibition in the gallery at Roche Court will focus on the 'Concretos', a body of new work which reveals his interest in Brazilian concrete art. The exhibition will also include recent 'Blob' paintings and works on paper.
The title for this series of new work is an admiring nod in the direction of the great Brazilian Concreto and Neo-Concreto movements of the 1950s and 1960s. The inspiration for them comes from the jagged cement-and-broken-glass compositions that often adorn the top of brick walls in towns and cities. This improvised and emphatically hostile kind of urban decoration might be thought of as a widely practiced form of anti-social sculpture.
Each 'Concreto' is based on the dimensions of a standard building brick, and each work consists of several shards of transparent coloured glass that have been pressed into wet concrete. As a series, the works relate to my interest into how colour manifests itself in the built environment. They also relate formally to much of my other two- and three-dimensional work, in that one or more brightly coloured elements are supported by a neutral base or shelf-like structure.
Most of the forms I use in my three-dimensional work are very simple - they are often flat and frontal, rectangular or box-like; some are triangular, while others are circular or spherical, linear or stick-like. They may refer to geometry but more to its battered and lived-in form than to any Platonic ideal. My three-dimensional works are not sculpturally innovative or complex; and I never use any modeling, depth or perspective in my two-dimensional work. These works are primarily vehicles for colour; as such I try to exclude anything that might interfere with or distract from that.
Colour is a commonplace of our everyday lives but at the same time it lies at the limits of language and understanding. The strange familiarity of colour is what makes it so beautiful and so fascinating, at least to me; its unknowableness has been the subject of my work for over twenty years. But I am not at all interested in 'pure' colour or in colour as a transcendental presence. All the colours I use come from everyday objects and materials that I encounter in the city; they are embodied or embedded in those materials and it is important for me not to obscure or ignore that fact.
David Batchelor 2013