Blog Archives


Below is the first draft of an essay written for (but then ultimately cut) from our book Navigating the Art World: Professional Practice for the Early Career Artist. As it is only a first draft, Transhistoricality is in a pretty rough state, but we thought it could be of some interest as it is.

The book is still available, and can be found HERE


Transhistoricality - Untitled (Perfect Lovers) by Felix Gonzalez-Torres
Transhistoricality – Untitled (Perfect Lovers) by Felix Gonzalez-Torres


In his seminal 1996 work of aesthetic philosophy After the End of Art, Arthur C. Danto discusses the idea that art, as suggested in the title, is over. This is not something to be railed against however, as it is not quite as literal and as frightening as it at once appears. 

What Danto is actually suggesting, is that we have now moved into a period of art that is free of the constraints with which it was once shackled, and into something new, as-yet-untitled, and more liberated than before.

Before the Renaissance, it could be argued (and indeed is, by Hans Belting in his book The Image Before the Era of Art) that art – in its current meaning, didn’t exist. Paintings were created by craftsman, and were not appreciated for their aesthetic beauty or for the skill with which they were created, but for the ideas they represented. These icons were often religious in content, and did not require the myth of the artist to validate their significance. It was only with the dawn of Modernism, and the Impressionists in particular, that a real philosophy of art was necessitated, or even possible.

Artists became as important as their work, and the philosophy of why something was made, what it meant, and why that was significant, became salient things to consider when critiquing a work of art.
It was no longer enough to appraise a painting based on its aesthetic qualities alone, and in a very real sense, the early Modernists weren’t creating ‘art’ as it had been understood previously.

Arthur C. Danto describes the period of ‘art’ as being between AD 1400, and up to (but not including) Andy Warhol’s Brillo Boxes of AD 1964. His reason for this is that the period in question was, in his mind, the ‘Age of Manifestos’. This period was characterized by successive movements that either built upon, or rejected, the idioms and style of the previous movements. Each movement claimed to have discovered the essence of true art, and as such, decried that any other movement was irrelevant. Their art was ‘true’, whereas all others work was not. These movements were limited to a specific time period, and often to a specific place, and anything outside of that was irrelevant. The movements fell into and out of fashion, and these fashions dictated what succeeded at the time.

All artwork that was made during the Age of Maifestos was identified as being of a certain movement (often to the artists’ chagrin), and nothing sat outside of at least one particular movement. 

What Danto argues, is that this all ended with Andy Warhol’s Brillo Box sculptures, because up until that point, all art could be characterized to being of a certain movement based upon it’s aesthetic alone, and it could be judged as being successful as an artwork (or otherwise), based on this criteria. What happened with the Brillo Boxes (Danto argues) is that now, one could not simply enter a gallery with one’s one critical faculties alone and review an artwork, but rather one now needed a contextual framework, including the artist’s intent, biography, and philosophy, before one could really understand the work.
This is what brought about the real need for a philosophy of art. Not the aesthetic philosophy that dealt with such abstract questions as ‘What is beauty?’, but rather, the much harder to answer questions such as ’What is art?’. 

What is art is a question that until the dawn of Modernism, was simply not asked. Art after the dawn of Modernism was constantly in flux, with each movement stating that only they were to be called the true artists. After the Age of Manfestos, no one movement or group of artists could deny any other’s validity as artists, as anything, and everything, could be art.

More than this, as artists now need not be restricted to a certain stylistic paradigm dictated by the dominant movement at the time, and their influences and inspirations can come from anywhere.

Pre-Modernism, artworks were historical or Religious; during the ‘Age of Manifestos’, artists strove create the new; after the end of ‘art’, artists were free to paint anything and everything, free from the temporal and stylistic constrains of the past.

Another thing that the end of art, and Pop Art in particular orchestrated was the blurring of the line between ‘highbrow’ and ‘lowbrow’, allowing for the first time the twee, the kitsch, and the cute, to be considered as worthy subjects for art. Artists are now freer than ever to reference everything and anything, and nothing is off-limits.


In her catalogue essay for the Forever Now exhibition of contemporary abstracts at the Moma, Laura Hoptman calls this ‘Atemporality’ – which means that now artists need not feel confined to any particular style, movement, or genre. Rather, they are free to take their inspiration from all and any point on the art-historical timeline that they wish, as now more than ever before, our connection to the past is strengthened by our ‘post-historical cultural condition”.

Art history exists in a straightforward line from the cave paintings of our ancestors, to some point during the Age of Manifestos (in Danto’s mind it is until Andy Warhol’s Brillo Boxes) at which point it explodes like a firework and shoots off in an infinite number of directions. History is no-longer linear, and from this point there are no dominant movements that discount, or attempt to discount, all artists who decide not to conform to their ideals. 

Today we live in a time of limitless knowledge, easily accessible and at our fingertips. Our inspirations have always been multifarious and difficult to discern in origin, but now more than ever we are able to digest and distill information from countless disconnected and even contradictory sources, with the aim of using these to generate something new. 


For artist’s today, this can be incredibly liberating. No longer do they have to ascribe to a particular movement, and they can make whatever crazy idea comes into their heads, without the worry that anyone is able to deny its position as art. The debate now becomes whether a work of art is good or bad, successful or unsuccessful, original or derivative, but no more is it whether something is or isn’t art. An artist’s intent is now all that can be questioned, but if something is created as an artwork sincerely, then it unquestionably is.

Our show Antisocial Isolation reopens at Saatchi Gallery!

Delphian Gallery presents ‘Antisocial Isolation’, a group exhibition at Saatchi Gallery, which brings together a collection of some of the most exciting early-career artists working today. Closed during the start of the lockdown, is now due to reopen on the 9th of December!

Saatchi Gallery - antisocial isolation
Saatchi Gallery install shot Antisocial Isolation

Artworks as records of history mediate the transitory space between what we experience and our shifting perceptions of those experiences. All of the works included have either been made during the current Covid19 pandemic, been made in response to it, or have developed new potential contexts when viewed from within it.

This exhibition is presented in a new liminal space which is neither isolated nor social. Embedded within each work are a myriad of shifting signifiers that are decoded afresh by each viewer, whose subjective lens endows the art with fluid meanings that are entirely unique.

The future will never be the same again. Here is now.

Artists include: Amy Beager, Anne Rothenstein, B.D. Graft, Benjamin Murphy, Danny Romeril, Enam Gbewonyo, Eva Hu, Florence Hutchings, Galina Munroe, George Lloyd-Jones, Igor Moritz, Jeroen Cremers, Jukka Virkkunen, Kadiya Qasem, Lian Zhang, Matt Macken, Minyoung Choi, Miranda Forrester, Moley Talhaoui, Nettle Grellier, Nick JS Thompson, Rhiannon Salisbury, Rosie Gibbens, Rosie McGinn, Sam Harris, Sunyoung Hwang, Valerie Savchits.

To book tickets click HERE

(Tickets are free)

More News From Nowhere

More News From Nowhere is an exhibition encompassing works from some of the most exciting artists working in Finland today.
Curated by artist and gallerist Benjamin Murphy, this show brings together works from artists represented by the biggest galleries in the country. More News From Nowhere is an immersive exhibition that will present works from a plethora of media, including painting, sculpture, and ceramics.

More News From Nowhere

Initiated in-part as a response to the ongoing Covid19 situation, MNFN is intended to provide some much-needed excitement in this unusual time. As galleries and exhibitions move online, MNFN exists in this in-between space, existing both physically, and through documentation and presentation online. The duration of the show exemplifies and echoes this fleeting and uncertain time we find ourselves in.

Artists Exhibiting

Jenni Hiltunen, Jussi Goman, Tuukka Tammissari, Peetu Liesinen, Benjamin Murphy, Dorian Bajramovic, Olli Piipo, Heini Aho, Wilma Väisänen, Timo Vaittinen, Piia Hiltunen, Konsta Ojala, Hermanni Keko, Petri Ala-Maunus, and Ari Pelkonen.

Collective Ending, A Land of Incomparable Beauty

Incomparable Beauty
A Land of Incomparable Beauty, Collective Ending HQ (July—August 2020). Image courtesy and © Collective Ending.

A flag hangs on a wall with a creeping, knobbled finger curling in invitation. Above the finger is written in large black letters, ‘Something Bad Is Going To Happen’. I wonder, had I seen Allen Gardener’s gnarled hand and ominous message in March, would I have taken it so presciently? It is trite, and most certainly over-done, to compare everything along a pre- and post-pandemic line, but in this show where everything speaks of the spectral, the weird and the mantic, I can’t help but see it as prophecy.

As Gardener’s work predicted, something bad did happen. Stalled by the global spread of coronavirus, Collective Ending‘s first show in their new HQ was delayed until the beginning of July. After staging three bacchanalian shows in the Spit & Sawdust pub in Bermondsey, titled in the series ABSINTHE, the group has settled in its HQ in Deptford, a large double-height warehouse with studios nestled in the eves and at the rear. Having a permanent space, and one in which its members can work alongside one another, is fuel for the group’s mission: giving art back to the artists, empowering them through reciprocal relationships. Collaboration, working against the scarcity ethics of the art world, is a central value of the group, hence its invitation to thirteen artists outside of the collective to display their work in its new space.

And they have followed the theme of the weird and the uncanny that began with ABSINTHE. A Land of Incomparable Beauty tells of “the sinister and eldritch underbelly, the skull beneath the skin of the countryside”, as the curators describe. It pries apart our construction of rural utopia that is particular to England, looks in its corners and behind its twitching curtains. The proximity between nature and horror is keenly felt; upon arrival, you are greeted by a spidery, twisted canvas by Luisa Mè, its arms reaching and crawling in terrible technicolour. There is an eeriness, a sense of threat from the phallic, totemic, sculpture of Irvin Pascal, and the Celtic symbolism of Jonathan Kelly’s twin canvases studded with rudraksha seeds.

incomparable beauty
Welcome (Sent Forever)’ (2019) by Beth Emily Richards

The philosopher Mark Rowlands has written that “when life is at its most visceral, and therefore also at its most vibrant, it is not possible to separate exultation from terror.” Like this, all the impeccable utopia that we imagine exists in the countryside is underwritten by a second script, a buzzing, uncanny monologue. A Land of Incomparable Beauty alerts us that our view is partial. I grew up in Somerset, a beloved corner of England’s countryside, the ‘hush of nature’ where Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Jane Austen wrote. And yet I saw more of my home turf in this exhibition, with all its darkness and mire and collapse, than in any pastoral landscape.

Yet this show is not simply about stripping away our constructions, but about filling in gaps. It illustrates the longing in the utopic vision of England’s “green and pleasant land”. Our nostalgia for the rural denotes much more than a loss of the natural, but a sense of the loss of the human, of man’s connection to the authentic and divine. Works like Beth Emily Richards’ audio piece, a recording of Cornish residents performing a lost choral practice formerly used to send messages to heavenly friends or loved ones, and Hadas Auerbach’s glass plates, elfin drawings covered in baby’s breath and weeds, are reminders of the magic and mystery still alive underneath the housing estates and care homes, the out-of-town supermarkets and car showrooms.

The works on display are powerful, considered. It takes an adjustment of the eye to connect them to the curatorial theme, but it’s no bad thing for an exhibition to require some interpretative work. Besides, just as the underlying horrors of the countryside, the muck and the sublime, are beneath the surface, so is the impetus of this show; a humming, thrumming line connecting a diversity of artists through a compelling, unexpected theme. Marshall Berman’s description of modernity is one that fits well, that ‘to be modern is to experience personal and social life as a maelstrom, to find one’s world and oneself in perpetual disintegration and renewal… to be part of a universe in which all that is solid melts into air’. Like this, A Land of Incomparable Beauty reminds us that our eyes are gently blinkered, that the ground is not steady beneath our feet, that nature, spirits, the mystical lie always in wait.

Incomaparable Beauty
A Land of Incomparable Beauty, Collective Ending HQ (July—August 2020). Image courtesy and © Collective Ending.

Words by Stella Botes

ANNOUNCEMENT – our first book is OUT NOW!

A Necessity of Sanity – Benjamin Murphy in conversation with James Tailor

James Tailor’s work is deeply-rooted in theory, but is not bound to it. Rather, his abstract sculptures are to be approached on formalist grounds, open to interpretation. Whilst abstract, they hint at representation; visceral forms suggest the human object, both inside and out. 

James Tailor
Title: Chromaphilia ll
Medium: Acrylic paint on canvas and stretcher 

Bulbous folds in the skin of some works speaks of human excess; gluttony almost, but never derogatorily.

His use of colour adds a layer of complexity, by alienating these forms and moving them towards the unknown, where any semblance of representation can only be the representation of something familiar, and yet somehow entirely new.

Why are you an artist?

The answer to ‘why I am an artist’ is rooted in my childhood,  I struggled growing up with dyslexia and found Art to be the most successful way I had of communicating. Similarly, as an adult my constant reevaluating shows me that being an artist is my strongest hand, something that makes me truly happy and a necessity of sanity.

Do you think being an artist is intrinsically linked to who you are?

I don’t believe I’d ever find an alternative that I’m as passionate about, that if not engaged with after a few days, effects my sense of being. So for better or worse, it is intrinsic to who I am now.

What else are you passionate about

Making art is all-encompassing, leading towards many areas of research, personally I’m engrossed in exhibitions, art documentaries, podcasts, books, lectures, fashion, interior design and politics.

How does that research manifest itself in the works?
James Tailor
Title: Untitled 
Medium: Acrylic & varnish paint skin pleated over canvas and stretcher

My research is the undercurrent, at the starting point and also in the contextualisation. Working in this way allows an ambiguity to be present that avoids directing the viewer too a said understanding of a given piece, this is achieved with subtleties like the size or tension in a break and the angles in between things, seemingly small choices  or restraints can have very powerful connotations. People connect more with a piece if they reach their own conclusion but it’s my responsibility as the artist to make sure each piece is able to stand on its own as an intriguing object.

So do you want your work to be approached with formalist readings through which they can interpret the works in their own way?

It’s not important nor a requirement that the viewer understands all the different nuance’s in my work, there are different levels of engagement and this is considered. There used to be a point where I anchored my practice to painting, and although there is an undeniable link to that medium, this is no longer a primary concern of mine. Allowing my works to exist as they are, assemblages, somewhere in between painting and sculpture, allows space for new possibilities.

How do you approach the making of the works, do you have a specific feel in mind at the outset, or is that dictated by the medium?

Mainly working with the possibilities chance and assemblage give, my practice is not tied to a particular medium or style. Taking found objects, usually at the end of their life and re-appropriating their narratives to form new ones, there is an unavoidably autobiographical meaning to be extracted from what I choose. I create assemblages from materials with which I personally connect. 

The discarded items that I use convey an inherent sadness and a sense of anticipation, It is precisely that feeling what I cling to. These items are then sometimes paired with acrylic paint, which I obsessively rework into a self made material. There is something ridiculously excessive in my fixation with acrylic paint which can verge on addiction when reworking it again and again.  Through draping, sculpting, casting or pleating I react to the tensions inherent to the materials and have to be able to judge when to stop.

James Tailor
Title: Consignment F25 
Medium: Acrylic paint skin pleated over canvas and stretcher with wooden crate including gloss paint and found objects 
Where do you source these materials?

The objects used in my assemblages are broken discarded items that can be found anywhere. So it’s important for me to always be alert, never knowing when I may stumble upon the starting point of a potential new work. 

The paint skins are made from paint medium and pigment, which are stocked in most art shops, structural items used are sourced from hardware stores.

Does the history of the medium ever inform the outcome of the work?

During my studies, and through out my career I have been fascinated by movements such as Dada, Art Povera, Suprematism and Conceptual Art but was compelled with the history of painting as a medium and the way it is viewed.  My practice has been preoccupied with the phenomenological aspects of the materiality and reception of the art works and in particular with the way in which, in the present times of viral dematerialisation, I counter the melancholic severance of the discarded objects with which I assemble my sculptural pieces with the unifying quality of an obsessive reworking of those objects through (acrylic) paint. 

Artist I have especially admired are Louise Bourgeois, Jannis Kounellis, Daniel Buren, Steven Parrino, Tony Cragg and Phyllida Barlow. Being aware of whats happened, or happening, undeniably informs me and its something I’m devoted to, its important to keep expanding on a knowledge that aids conversation, without repeating whats already been said.

James’ Instagram

More artist conversations:

Richie Culver – Making Bad Decisions

ANNOUNCEMENT – our first book is OUT NOW!

Navigating The Art World – Professional Practice For The Early Career Artist

Professional Practice

We’re SO excited to finally be able to release this into the world. Almost a year in the making, this book is the product of many long nights writing, interviewing, and editing, so its super nice to be able to let you see it.

The Special pre-order* price of £10 and free UK shipping is available for the first two weeks, then it will retail at £12.

“The art world is a place that can seem scary and impenetrable to an artist at the beginning of their journey. This book addresses and gives special attention to rarely discussed topics that underpin a professional practice within this field.

Whilst the list is not exhaustive, these opinion pieces give a glimpse behind the curtain, equipping artists with the practical tools needed to approach their career.”

Buy it HERE

Ten Finnish Artists

Text written by Emiy Quli

Finland, although perhaps more commonly renowned for its breath taking  Nordic Lakes and the Northern Lights, has a flourishing contemporary art scene. People travel to Finland for its natural beauty, often over – looking the under publicised art scene which exacerbates this native beauty. From Jussi Goman’s regenerative Fauvist works to Peetu Liesinen’s intricate drawings and paintings, here are ten Finnish artists that you should be following today. 

Jenni Hiltunen


Jenni Hiltunen

Jenni Hiltunen’s contemporary paintings depict human figures built with new, gaunt dimensions through her use of shades and colours offering fresh perspectives to approach the female portrait. The gazes she portrays are haunting and melancholic. There is a certain solemnity and nonchalance to her work. Although she paints the everyday, it certainly isn’t mundane as the figures ensure that the audience is drawn to the vibrance of the character. 

Tuukka Tammisaari


Tuukka Tammisaari

Tammisaari’s work has an abundance of  explosive shapes, fragments, colours and blocks. Despite a slightly overwhelming and anarchic initial feel, everything fits coherently and makes sense on a thorough glance. They are deep works of imagination and coordination. The titles themselves are an ode to the imagination and provide the observer with direction to approach and acknowledge the image. 

Jukka Virkkunen


ten Finnish Artists

Virkkunen is provisional of innovative methods of creating art. His feed is full of “behind the scenes” style videos of him using his mop to create incredible pieces. This shows the fun and excitement involved with the production of art. His inkworks, although appear rather monolithic are intimidating and full of depth, particularly against the blatancy of the white wall on which he presents them.

Ari Pelkonen


ten Finnish Artists

Each of Ari Pelkonen’s works feels like a verb through the different envisagement of lines and the way they can transform and move on a canvas. The gradient of colours and the depth of dimensions all move through these lines. These create complex, pleasing and soothing pictures to look at. 

Timo Vaittinen


ten Finnish artists

Timo Vaittinen’s work is alive. Things fold into each other and fold out of the canvas. The colours break apart and come out together. Pictures, creatures and large overwhelming shapes dominate the canvas. They are large and, on occasion, rather psychedelic, immersing the observer into each imafe as they try to make sense of it. 

Karoliina Hellberg


ten Finnish artists

Helberg’s paintings are transformative of ordinary landscapes, changing them into ethereal and exotic fantasies. The vibrancy of each of her paintings injects the scenes she paints with a potency of life that cannot help but translate off the canvas.

Peetu Liesinen


ten Finnish artists

Peetu depicts enchanting figures through archaic style drawings and paintings. The figures and portraits are always removed from the observer through the dated feel to them and the inability for the characters to engage with the audience. They are detailed and yet there is an absence to the figures – a mystery to each one he paints. Peetu is both able to tell a story about a character and censor elements to it. 

Petri Ala-Maunus


Ten Finnish Artists

Ala – Maunus’s portraits provide the inky backdrop and scenery for the melting pot of colours to intermingle, mix and divulge. The identity of each of the figures is sacrificed as the emotions of the portraits dominate and dictate the paintings. This is done through the varying colour schemes he uses. The eyes of each portrait eerily haunt the audience: remaining observant, still and unchanging in a canvas that is perpetually transitioning around it. 

Tuuli Kerätär


Ten Finnish Artists

Tuuli has an eclectic, experimental mix of works as if they are each resolving a train of thought. This consequently invites the audience to resonate their own thoughts with the beauty in every day life and the beauty that Tuuli depicts on the canvas. The paintings attempt to categorise each elusive thoughts through these beatific stimuli such as flowers, architecture and colour that resonate with the observer. 

Jussi Goman


Jussi Goman

Goman’s works are fun and playful. They take impressions of everyday objects from things such as fruit to flowers to create indulgent, progressive images. His work  has a real sense of Fauvism being regenerated into today’s contemporary climate. He is the wild beast of today experimenting with varying gradients, shapes and objects to create an impressive, holistic final image. 

Contemporary Artists using Performance – selected by Rosie Gibbens

Sculpture involving Sound – Selected by Harrison Pearce

Artists working in Denmark – selected by Rasmus Peter Fischer of Galerie Wolfsen

Ten Other Galleries – Selected by Sotiris Sotiriou of Coma

Artists working with Themes of Post-vandalism – selected by curator Stephen Burke

My favourite Australian Artists – selected by Jordy Kerwick.

Ten Other Galleries – Selected by Sotiris Sotiriou of Coma

For more from Coma, see their website

Blank Projects

Coma Gallery
James Webb, “This is where I leave you (Radiant guide. Equanimity in the harsh storm),” 161 x 46 x 64cm.

A condensed look at the future of intelligent contemporary art coming out of South Africa. 

High Art

High Art
Three paintings by Tom Humphreys

An eclectic selection of high voltage artwork. High Art introduces a fantastic set of new emerging work to the world on a regular basis and presents beautiful exhibitions. 

Antenna Space

Coma Gallery

Some of the most important young artists to come out of China and beyond in recent years. Antenna Space has kept a continually interesting and very active fair and gallery program. 

The Breeder

Coma Gallery
UNDER CONFINEMENT : @vanessasafavi 

Responsible for connecting Athens with the rest of the contemporary art world and facilitating brave new work from a changing city. 

Commonwealth and Council

Commonwealth and Council
Rafa Esparza
‘thanks for staying alive Fern.1994,’ 2020
Acrylic on adobe panel (local dirt, horse dung, hay, Hoosic River water, chain-link fence, plywood)

An extremely admirable and visibly collaborative venture which has influenced and inspired many gallerists and artists. 


Composition With a Recurring Sound 5, 2018, Vartan Avakian 
Copper alloys, radio waves and a river

A thoughtful and introspective space that has helped shine a spotlight on Beirut and create a dialogue with the city and artists based out of the country. 


Thoughtful and personal presentations of cutting edge emerging artwork that traverse location and time. 


Coma Gallery

 “In Martinique the root of Monstera Deliciosa is used to make a remedy for snakebite,” 2015
brass, alabaster

Powerful and socially aware exhibitions of some of the most important emerging voices in contemporary art today. 


CAMP’s A Photogenetic Line is part of Experimenter’s group exhibition: ‘Cataloging Time’ in @ArtBasel’s second iteration of Online Viewing Rooms.⁣

One of the main reasons to watch India as a vibrant and vital part of the art world. Experimenter also very evidently supports and elevates their own local scene. 

Jaqueline Martins

Coma Gallery
Ana Mazzei

Research-based and historically aware while simultaneously keeping current collectors and viewers excited and attentive. 

For more top tens:

Contemporary Artists using Performance – selected by Rosie Gibbens

Sculpture involving Sound – Selected by Harrison Pearce

Artists working in Denmark – selected by Rasmus Peter Fischer of Galerie Wolfsen

Artists working with Themes of Post-vandalism – selected by curator Stephen Burke

My favourite Australian Artists – selected by Jordy Kerwick.

Una Ursprung in Conversation with Sarah Forman

Una Ursprung

The #LockdownEditions are a Delphian-run initiative to support some of our favourite contemporary artists during these difficult and unprecedented times. Throughout the remainder of the quarantine measures, we will be releasing a new print each week, with all of the profits going directly to the artists themselves. This week, we’re excited to feature our eighth artist, Una Ursprung, to talk about artificial intervention, solidifying borders and moving away from the physical.

Sarah Forman: Tell us a bit about yourself and your practice.

Una Ursprung: Well, I’m from Taiwan, and I graduated from the Ecole Européenne Supérieure d’Art de Bretagne in France. I make works that are mostly painting, collage and photography, focusing on forests and natural scenery. Initially I chose a sort of floating line style, using ribbons of spray paint to represent the colorful effects of lighting, but in quiet, serene, beautiful settings: in the woods. Every touch of brush reflects how nature, and forest environments, make me think and feel. But because we mostly see spray paint in the city, its contrast in my paintings speaks to human intervention in the ecosystem. I try to find the balance between the ecological and the artificial on the canvas, just like how we as people need to find balance with our environment.

SF: Where are you based and how has the current global health crisis affected your day-to-day?

UU: I’m based in Kœstlach, a very small village in France near the border of Switzerland and Germany. Honestly, the lockdown situation hasn’t changed my day to day so much, because I have a very closed countryside life with my studio in my garden. My life is normally one of confinement.

But I can’t help but be affected by watching the global news. It makes me very sad, and I feel the presence of borders in a way that’s depressing. It’s not even so much border control itself, but the feeling of a real existence of a border that’s affected me. My husband and I used to often go to Basel, the nearest city, and we never really felt they were different countries. Now my husband can go to Switerland because he’s Swiss. I can’t.

At the beginning of the epidemic, I was in Taiwan and everyone was wearing masks, despite the fact that there were fewer than 10 cases. When I came back to France in February, there were none. It made me really anxious. I felt insecure going outside without a mask, but at the same time was afraid of discrimination if I went out with one. It just feels different. I also had two exhibitions suspended.

SF: In what ways have you changed how you work and/or what you’re working on?

UU: No, my subject matter is quite personal to me, and that hasn’t changed, but I’ve done some more small sized works and am exploring some new ideas.

SF: How have you seen your community affected by the current COVID-19 crisis? Inside and outside the art world?

UU: I think we could see the whole world is moving increasingly from the physical to virtual, which is also true of the art world. There are more and more online exhibitions, online stores, you can visit museums with VR headsets and also there’s the great idea that is the artist support pledge – where artists sell their works on social media and help other artists – this has really created immense support and fostered the strength of the community. Because of this, unknown artists like me may have more chances than before to be seen through platforms like Instagram. I think this has maybe changed some habits of the art market for good.

SF: Can you talk to us a little bit about this print and why you chose it?

UU: Actually, it was Benjamin who chose this painting to print, and I’m really happy with it. This painting, “COVID-Study for Plants #15”, was done at the beginning of the pandemic. I found I unconsciously wrote COVID across the flowers, and I only really realized it days after I finished the painting. I think it stands to be representative of my work at this period of time.

SF: Do you feel there’s a certain pressure to respond to what’s going on in the world right now? If so, what does that look like?

UU: I don’t really feel that kind of pressure. Maybe I’m a little worried about the unknown future, but I’m trying to keep positive and accept the change of the world, keep adopting myself into it.

SF: Have you seen initiatives taking place that really scare you? Excite you?

UU: It really scared me when there were not many strict measures against the virus early on in Europe, seeing most people’s negligence at the beginning of March. I think Delphian’s initiative is genius. I feel so lucky that Benjamin found me on Instagram, and I’m grateful to have been chosen to be a part of this.

Moley Talhaoui in conversation 

Lucia Ferrari in Conversation

Sunyoung Hwang in conversation

Matt Macken in conversation

Igor Moritz in conversation

Rob Tucker in Conversation 

B.D. Graft in conversation

For more from Una Ursprung, see her INSTAGRAM

Rob Tucker in Conversation with Sarah Forman

Rob Tucker

The #LockdownEditions are a Delphian-run initiative to support some of our favourite contemporary artists during these difficult and unprecedented times. Throughout the remainder of the quarantine measures, we will be releasing a new print each week, with all of the profits going directly to the artists themselves. This week, we’re excited to feature our seventh artist, Rob Tucker, to talk about mark making, flattening the curve, and picking problematic works

Sarah Forman: Tell us a bit about yourself and your practice.

Rob Tucker: I’m a New Zealand based painter who forged an abstract style at a young age. I look to capture my subject matter in a naive and raw manner – built through heavy-handed mark making and expressive painterly application. Mark making, to me, is a tangible portrayal of instinct, like a way to illustrate a feeling without literal reference. I can lose myself in an act of application to create something that feels like pure freedom. 

I predominately work with paint, which in my application plays a strong sculptural role, constructing and deconstructing layers. Although I do paint still lifes, accurately depicting subject matter has never been my focus. It’s just a vehicle for me to explore mark making in an expressive and kind of imaginary cartoon like approach.

SF: Where are you based and how has the current global health crisis affected your day-to-day?

RT: I am based in Auckland working out of a studio in a converted power station building. I feel incredibly lucky to live in a very small country surrounded by ocean, so we haven’t been as affected as others. However, like everyone, the general uncertainty of the moment and how quickly things are evolving is rather unsettling and sometimes really unmotivating.

Some of my planned exhibitions in Miami and Paris were halted to ensuring people’s health and wellbeing, uncertain economies and lockdown restrictions. However, in other countries that had the virus earlier and already flattened the curve, I’ve been able to continue sending work for showcase, like in Hong Kong and Singapore.  

SF: In what ways have you changed how you work and/or what you’re working on?

RT: I’m generally very busy with my painting, which means I’ve had little time to stop and experiment. The main ramification of the crisis, for my work, has actually been really positive. I’ve slowed down, focused my energy on reflection and evolving my current practice. I’m working on a new body of work for a solo exhibition in September with Piermarq, an Australian based gallery. This series will have a focus on interior and architectural themes, expressed through my heavy mark-making and painterly processes. 

SF: How have you seen your community affected by the current COVID-19 crisis? Inside and outside the art world?

RT: I’m proud of how our government handled the situation by coming in hot and early, shutting the borders and essentially locking the country down for one month. Because of this decision, businesses are starting to go back to work. It’s interesting to see how rapidly the art industry is reacting – driving new ways of collaborating and using e-commerce to continue things in a whole new world. While it will never be the same as standing in front of a painting in the flesh, it’s exciting to see creatives pushing the boundaries of artistic traditions, coming together as a community, and using online tools they have available to the best of their ability. 

SF: Can you talk to us a little bit about this print and why you chose it?

RT: To much of my delight the team at Delphian chose the work they wanted to print. I was actually surprised with their selection as it’s not one of my favourites. It was a challenging and problematic work whilst I was painting it. But interestingly, I’ve had a lot of positive feedback from it, so that’s always nice to hear. 

SF: Do you feel there’s a certain pressure to respond to what’s going on in the world right now? If so, what does that look like?

RT: There is definitely pressure to progress my work creatively, continue showing abroad despite the current crisis, and be active on social media supporting online communities. I feel creatives are needed more than ever to bring vibrancy and colour in dark times of real uncertainty. We are all human and in this together, and to bringing people enjoyment and pleasure is a great honour. 

SF: Have you seen initiatives taking place that really scare you? Excite you?

RT: To be honest, the print release with Delphian Gallery is the most impressive, quick-fire initiative that tangibly helps artists and spreads awareness that creative industries have taken a direct hit. Really proud and excited to be working with such a forward-thinking artist run gallery and have a print that is accessible to art enthusiasts on a global stage.

For more conversations

Moley Talhaoui in conversation 

Lucia Ferrari in Conversation

Sunyoung Hwang in conversation

Matt Macken in conversation

Igor Moritz in conversation

B.D. Graft in conversation

For more from Rob Tucker, see his INSTAGRAM