David Batchelor's 'Monochrome Archive', Whitechapel Gallery

Sunday, 26 April 2015


Whilst back in the familiar streets of Whitechapel for a hospital appointment, I walked the short distance to my old haunt, the Whitechapel Gallery. Located conveniently right next to Aldgate East tube station, with a wide variety of frequently changing exhibitions (the majority of which are free) featuring artists such as Dada collage master Hannah Hoch and the plant-obsessed photographer Karl Blossfeldt, it's a perfect place to spend an afternoon. The gallery also has the excellent Exmouth Coffee Company cafe on its other side, which I highly recommend for its fresh orange juice and massive variety of fresh sandwiches and generous salads.

Currently showing downstairs is David Batchelor's 'Monochrome Archive', a huge collection of everyday abstracts: blank, white spaces found in the environment through his walks in cities ranging from London to Hong Kong to Mexico City. It's interesting to see this collection of blanks, especially considering that in many cities white space is used either for advertising or graffiti - though it's the kind of thing you'd overlook due to its 'absence', it's actually quite rare to see a perfectly unused billboard or poster space. For Batchelor, these 'found monochromes' are an example of how abstraction ('abstract art is the art of the city') is found throughout urban space. As well as the large projected screens which fill the gallery space, cycling regularly through monochromes and reflecting on the polished floors, all of the images are featured as illuminated slides, detailed with their location and date. Aside from being a very interesting visual documentation of abstraction in city space, it's also a surprisingly relaxing place to have a wander in.

Monochrome Archive runs until 10th May 2015

Find the Whitechapel Gallery at: 77-82 Whitechapel High Street, London, E1 7QX
Find Exmouth Coffee Company at: 83 Whitechapel High Street, London, E1 7QX

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