The advent theme of colour and light bringing joy and hope to the world is echoed in a solo exhibition by the artist David Batchelor, currently on display in Salisbury Cathedral.
At the heart of the exhibition (and the cathedral itself) hangs a dazzling kaleidoscope of slowly turning spheres entitled Disco Mécanique, 2008.
This multicoloured galaxy of turning globes, created from thousands of plastic party sunglasses from Brazil, both absorbs and reflects the light and colour of the cathedral around it – and speaks to the joy and hope of the season.
David’s use of found and recycled materials compliments the cathedral’s commitment to the environment.
By contrast, Candela 2016, a work made of brilliantly lit recycled bottles with a swag of wires sweeping upward behind, illuminates a dark corner of the North Quire Aisle, transforming the sombre space with its brilliant colours.
Salisbury Cathedral’s visual arts curator Beth Hughes said: “David is concerned above all things with colour, often taking found objects and transforming them to celebrate the myriad of hues found in the urban environment.
“Each sculpture presented here is in dialogue with the space as it either draws light from the cathedral to cast a wash of colour over the architecture or brings its own source of light drenching a hidden corner in vibrant colour.”
Along the nave and also high up on a niche are some of the artist’s most recent works, Concretos 2012-2022.
Created from vibrantly coloured offcuts and found materials embedded into a concrete structure, David took his inspiration from walls in Sicily where shards of coloured glass had been fixed into the mortar on top to deter intruders.
Luminous in colour and material, the Concretos respond to the natural light that filters in from the nave windows, sometimes opaque and sometimes transparent.
Artist David Batchelor said: “Colour is often overlooked in favour of line and form and yet it surrounds us all the time, particularly in a building like the cathedral, where light and space have been orchestrated for around 800 years.
This is what I have been doing since the 1990s, if on a more modest scale and after years of working in white-wall galleries the chance to exhibit in an extraordinary space like this is hugely exciting, but also a little scary.”
For those wishing to hear the artist speak, on Sunday, 15th January David Batchelor will be in conversation with art historian, writer and museum curator, Dr Alexandra Loske at the cathedral, with Beth Hughes moderating.
Tickets: Adults £10, free for U18s. Guests are invited to stay on afterwards for Evensong, which starts at 4.30pm.
David Batchelor’s exhibition is free with cathedral admission and will be on display until February 2, 2023