David Batchelor’s Monochrome Archive, 1997-2015


For nearly 20 years British artist David Batchelor (b. 1955) has been photographing his series of Found Monochromes – white rectangles and squares encountered on walks through cities from London to São Paulo.

Now for the first time all 500 images – an explosion of white rectangles in the Gallery – are shown as a multi-screen installation, giving a spectacular counterpoint to the Adventures of the Black Square exhibition.

Slideshows of pictures of white rectangles projected onto several screens. The artist took photographs of white rectangles that he came across walking around London and other cities on brick walls, car doors, metal fences. Faded posters, the back of paper notices, stickers, whatever. Doesn’t sound so exciting. But we found this really interesting. It was fascinating to see all the different sources of these white rectangles and the places where he found them. It was like a silent urban documentary.

David Batchelor Stratford, London 10.03.04 2

The artist writes about this project on the Tate website

My original motives for making monochromes – back in the late 1980s – were vaguely malicious. The subject was interesting because it seemed to be pretty much the dumbest kind of painting that it is possible to make.


Left to right: 7. Alexanderplatz, Berlin, 04.04.08 8. Ponte Lungo, Rome, 17.04.07 9. King’s Cross, London, 18.11.07 (from Tate website)

When we left the gallery, just across the road what did we see stuck on the back of a road sign?



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