Colourful clusters of collected items
This article is from 2007.
David Batchelor has been a busy man of late, scouring pound shops in London and Scotland for pegs, combs, cutlery, clothes pegs, children’s toys, girly hair accessories and a whole manner of other cheap plastic objects in preparation for this new site specific installation. Collected items have been attached in clusters to long metal supports, and a series of these sculptures will be grouped together in the gallery’s large atrium, some small and quickly improvised, others up to four metres high like willowy psychedelic fir trees.
Batchelor wants to focus our attention on the hidden potential beauty of consumerable everyday kitsch, but giving the cheap or discarded jewel-like status by re-displaying it as art is hardly a new concept, so what makes his work so distinctive? Certainly the excessive, celebratory colour echoing throughout this work is appealing, and it links us back to his overall practice as an artist and writer, in which colour theory plays a definitive role.
That the objects are not arbitrarily arranged is important too; some are arranged around a single colour, some around the type of objects, others even around a particular part of the body. In obsessively categorising the objects in this way their function and status is respectfully retained, and the reasons why so many of us are drawn to buy them is dually emphasised.
Along with these sculptures a range of the drawings and prints which inform them will be on display, and a new print specially commissioned for the Talbot Rice Gallery, which may well provide further insight into his most current thought processes.
Talbot Rice Gallery, 650 2210, until 29 Sep, Tue–Sat 10am–5pm, free.