Synopses & Reviews
Color surrounds us: the lush green hues of trees and grasses, the variant blues of water and the sky, the bright pops of yellow and red from flowers. But at the same time, color lies at the limits of language and understanding. In this absorbing sequel toand#160;Chromophobia
and#151;which addresses the extremes of love and loathing provoked by color since antiquityand#151;David Batchelor charts colorand#8217;s more ambiguous terrain.
The Luminous and the Greyand#160;explores the places where color comes into being and where it fades away, probing when it begins and when it ends both in the imagination and in the material world. Batchelor draws on neuroscience, philosophy, novels, films, and artistsand#8217; writingsand#151;as well as his own experience as an artist working with colorand#151;to understand how we see and use colors. He considers the role of color in creation myths, industrial chemistry, and optics, and examines the particular forms of luminosity that saturate the modern city. Following this inquiry into the hues that we face every day, he turns to one that is both color and noncolor: grey itself, which he reveals is as much a mood, feeling, and existential condition as a shade that we experience with our eyes.
Deftly argued, always thought-provoking, and ever entertaining,and#160;The Luminous and the Greyand#160;is a beautiful study of how we see and feel our multicolored world.
and#8220;All theory is grey, Mephistopheles pronounces in Goetheand#8217;s Faust. But greyness is the last thing to hold against David Batchelorand#8217;s colourful essay, The Luminous and the Grey. In three short chapters, the London-based artist-author offers to vindicate and#8216;a colour without a colourand#8217; that does so much of the unpaid housework in what we see and what artists make . . . Batchelor ranges wide, touching art, film, optics, and philosophy. His main point is that, contrary to reputation, grey can be bright, engaging, and luminous.and#8217;and#160;
and#8220;Although a measured and carefully researched book, it also takes the reader by surprise, particularly in the run up to the final section on grey, where at first we have a rerun of the many prejudices to be found against this colour, but then suddenly Batchelor turns this around and allows all the bad feeling to unravel. He moves elegantly to a subtle and thought-provoking reflection that draws upon a wide range of sources, including his personal reflections. . . . Batchelor literally delves into ideas about grey and goes further and deeper than I have come across . . . Great read.and#8221;
Praise for the U.K. edition:
All those working with indigo or merely interested in the cultural history of that dye must read this book.
-- Textile Forum
Indigo: Egyptian Mummies to Blue Jeans tells the compelling story of the world's oldest and best-loved dye, the iconic blue behind one of the world's ubiquitous fabrics: denim. Brilliant photographs and eloquent text describe the process of making indigo dye from plants and how indigo is used. It weaves stories of indigo's producers, its cultural traditions and history, its importance in global trade, and the modern textile artists and fashion designers who are reviving indigo for sustainable development.
The book covers: Indigo's history, dating to ancient timesThe botanical sources of indigo, including woadUses of indigo in traditional medicine and religious practicesThe chemistry of indigo and the technology used to extract itProduction and dyeing methodsThe commercial indigo industry, past and presentThe health consequences of making indigoModern and future applications of indigoIndigo's continuing appeal and the iconic blue jean
Indigo tells fascinating stories from the history of the dye, such as the recent discovery of 17th-century Spanish galleons in the Caribbean carrying hundreds of chests of raw indigo, which the author successfully used to dye 21st-century fabrics.
Color is a given of most peopleand#8217;s everyday lives, but at the same time it lies at the limits of language and understanding. David Batchelorand#8217;s previous book for Reaktionand#151;Chromophobia
and#151;addressed the extremes of love and loathing that color has provoked since classical antiquity. In The Luminous and the Grey
Batchelor explores similar territory, but charts more ambiguous terrain.
The Luminous and the Grey is a study of the places where color comes into being and where it fades away; an enquiry about when color begins and when it ends, both in the imagination and in the material world. Batchelor draws on a wide range of materialand#151;from neuroscience, philosophy, novels and movies; from the writings of artists and from his own experience as an artist who has worked with color for more than twenty years
After considering the place of color in creation myths, in industrial chemistry, in recent thinking on optics and in the particular forms of luminosity that saturate the modern city, the book culminates in a meditation on the unique color that is also a non-color, a mood, a feeling, an existential condition, and even an insult: grey.
About the Author
is an artist and writer based in London. He is the author of three books, including Chromophobia
, also published by Reaktion Books.
Table of Contents
1. The Beginning and the End of Colour
2. The Luminous and the Grey
3. The Grey and the Luminous
List of Illustrations