Monday, 7:00am
14 May 2012

Batchelor’s mix

Beauty in the streets, unrefurbished spaces and skips of Brighton

The skip outside Brighton Town Hall isn’t rubbish, writes Chloë King. A yellow fluorescent tube highlights its edges, a wire fence surrounds it, and a notice pinned to the front reads, ‘What a time to invest public funded money in skips.’

It’s art, of course. The Skip (top and below) is part of David Batchelor’s ‘Brighton Palermo Remix’ exhibition, commissioned by the House visual arts festival, which runs in partnership with Brighton Festival from 6-27 May 2012.

All photographs: Bernard Mills.

x3_Batchelor_Skip

With Batchelor as lead artist, this year’s House curator, Photoworks’ Celia Davies, has selected five artists that share Batchelor’s interest in ‘the overlooked and everyday’, to respond to the festival’s recurring theme of ‘domestic space’.

Below: David Batchelor, ‘Brighton Palermo Remix’ (detail), Regency Town House, Ground Floor.

x2_Batchelor_BPR

The commissions are displayed as playful interventions in city centre locations, such as Brighton University, St Peter’s Church Gardens and outside the Town Hall (on private land). Which brings us back to David Batchelor.

Scots-born Batchelor is now based in London, where he finds many of the items he repurposes as sculptural installations. He’s a prolific artist and author of books on colour theory and Minimalism, among other things.

His most recent book, Found Monochromes (2010), comprises a collection of photographs of blank billboards and notices that he has been gathering since 1997. The photographs, eerie in their mundanity and exciting in their subtlety, are displayed as a slideshow in the basement of The Regency Town House on Brunswick Square in Hove, with the rest of his show.

DSC_7353

The artworks have found a less controversial home in this venue, which is a brilliant space to show art in because it’s still being refurbished. The textures and tones of bare plaster help to bring David Batchelor’s illuminated installations down to earth.

x4_Batchelor_Sickboy

Above: David Batchelor, Sickboy (detail), Regency Town House, Basement.

With ‘Brighton Palermo Remix’, Batchelor draws a connection between the two coastal towns: taking Palermo’s original street decorations – whitewashed timber frames and coloured lights – and transposing them into this unfinished interior setting in Brighton.

x1_Batchelor_BPR

The scale is impressive. On the first floor a giant bauble of intersecting triangles (above) hangs delicately from a ceiling rose, as you walk round, it disappears into a sliver of light. On the ground floor a dark room is filled with the fuzzy warmth of coloured light, like a fairground ride designed for meditation.

x5_Batchelor_BPR

Above: David Batchelor, ‘Brighton Palermo Remix’, Regency Town House, Ground Floor.

Batchelor’s Skip works because it’s familiar and funny, but it is also hard work because we have to have that old debate about public funded art. What makes most of ‘Brighton Palermo Remix’ so beautiful and valuable is that it brings the warm weather with it.

David Batchelor’s Brighton Palermo RemixHouse Festival 2012, Brighton UK, until 27 May 2012.

Photography by Bernard Mills.

Eye is the world’s most beautiful and collectable graphic design journal, published quarterly for professional designers, students and anyone interested in critical, informed writing about graphic design and visual culture. It’s available from all good design bookshops and online at the Eye shop, where you can buy subscriptions and single issues. Eye 82 is out now – you can browse a visual sampler at Eye before you buy on Issuu.

Tracker Pixel for Entry