Unplugged (Remix), David Batchelor, Wilkinson Gallery
11 October-18 November 2007
In Unplugged (Remix), the London based artist David Batchelor gives track for his new exhibition on his well-known exploration of the use and understanding of colour. This time, the usual illuminations through neon lights or ‘billboard effects’ have been replaced by the natural gloss and saturate colours of plastic objects. Ordinary commodities, such as strainers, dusters, combs, brushes, balls and small children’s toys, among others things, are elements that Batchelor gathered from different but common Pound Shops. Once again, he attempts to work with the urban environment, a scattered and transformable place where some unvalued and insignificant objects could be potentially changed to a high status.
Parapillars, the installation placed on the ground floor of the gallery, suggests the first transcendence for these accumulative utensils that are attached to a vertical matt metal structure. All the relevance resides in the common thread of colour; some of these objects are selected under a precise distinction of range and values, while others through chromatic improvisation or by types, creating an environment of decorative trees with attractive shapes. The aim is achieved. Everyday kitsch becomes objects of fascinating contemplation. Thus Batchelor's strategic assemblages could proceed to a new state in the viewer, one that, annulling their original use, promotes the desire to consume these industrial objects as art products. And finally, the inevitable impossibility, where this state takes place is a fictional illusion, only possible in the context of an exhibition venue.
In comparison to Batchelor's previous artworks like Brick Lane Remix (2003), where installations of second hand light-boxes and shelving units celebrate the electric coloring of a technological era, Unplugged (Remix) rescues modest elements whose technological value has disappeared. On the first floor of the gallery, electric cables were wound into a ball, while plastic and souvenir sunglasses were tied together building the skeleton structure of balls forms. The opportunity for the spectator to play with these objects is forbidden, drawing attention to what has been placed on the walls of the gallery: Batchelor's drawings of his Parapillars and illuminated installations, a practical metaphor which further distances these untouchable objects.
The seduction of the gaze is recognized by Batchelor through the use of the language of capitalist industry, employing layout methods that allow a formal distribution of space and make objects visually attractive and enlightening unnoticed objects. This type of manipulation considers the effort for the artist “to make these materials look better than they do in their raw state” , while the spectator consuming this ephemeral theatre and assuming their disillusion, returns to their consumable state (home). Nevertheless collectors enjoying this artificial scenario, accessing to these objects, break completely the barrier of consumption. Inevitability, art from the masses to the few.