In the Light of David Batchelor's Books on Colour: Chromophobia and The Luminous and the Grey

Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Architectural Theory Review, 2015, 19 (2), pp. 263 - 266 (4)
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It is, I believe, no exaggeration to say that, in the West, since Antiquity, colour has been systematically marginalised, reviled, diminished, and degraded.1 So begins David Batchelor’s reboot of how we think, write, and experience colour today. As Batchelor puts it, “This loathing of colour, this fear of corruption through colour, needs a name: chromophobia”.2 Chromophobia, first published in 2000 and since republished in eight languages, has given the word global idiomatic status. It has acquired general usage in the art world, as well as spilling over into online dictionaries, where it carries a sense of medical gravitas, suggesting a new type of psychological condition—the fear of colour, akin to other phobias such as the fear of crowds or heights.
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