David Batchelor Richard Deacon
Colours In The Air
24 February – 31 March 2023 By appointment
When I was sixteen I was allowed to paint the small room I slept in whatever colour I liked. I painted it purple with orange woodwork. It was awful, like sleeping in a nightmare. Painted it white again after a few days. Should have used blue and yellow. (Richard Deacon)
I would become Ukrainian just for the colours of their flag. (David Batchelor).
Handel Street Projects is pleased to present a collaborative exhibition of works by David Batchelor and Richard Deacon with contributions from curator Fedja Klikovac.
A month after the unprovoked Russian invasion of Ukraine, we had started a conversation about a possible collaborative project, knowing that both artists share a strong interest in colour. We didn’t know then that as a result of ‘two guys just noticing things as they go along who were sometimes worried and sometimes not but have a background preoccupation (as we all do)’, we would have collected a series of images containing the two colours of Ukraine’s flag (representing the country’s role as European breadbasket: blue denoting sky, yellow standing for the grain).
Richard Deacon triggered this visual correspondence with an image and message: ‘nice coincidences from the studio window! Love to do something together’…. And images started flowing backwards and forwards, occasionally with a few words: ‘From a book about great Spanish anatomist and master of microscopy, Santiago Ramon y Caial, the names of the stain colours he used in his historical sections ‘dahlia violet, methylene green, hematoxin, eosin, black silver’; ‘Cafe at Hebden Bridge Station: badges for sale’; ‘Taken, incidentally, in the northern tip of the Lofoten Islands in Norway’; ‘Santa Maria Della Formosa’. And on it goes.
Recently the Ukrainian curator Kateryna Iakovlenko spoke to art-agenda about an exhibition she organized in her ruined apartment, which had been hit by a Russian rocket. She explained its focus on everyday gestures of community and resistance as a strategy of studied “indifference” towards those responsible for the destruction of her home and the invasion of her country. Instead of expending her energy on thinking about the aggressor she prefers to “think about the future, about ordinary people experiencing all this with me.”
Since the shocking and brutal attack by Russia on Ukraine started on the 24 February 2022, 240,000 people have been killed. Millions have been displaced. Nuclear power plants have been attacked. As of 1 February 2023 UNESCO verified damage to 238 cultural sites, among them 105 religious sites, 18 museums, 85 buildings of historical and artistic interest, 19 monuments and 11 libraries. We dedicate this exhibition to all Ukrainian people fighting for the freedom of their sovereign state and for the right of democratic self-determination. We want to show our solidarity with Ukraine and resist this act of aggression by every means. All proceeds from our exhibition will go to the Ukrainian Emergency Art Fund. Slava Ukraini!