Category: Artists

Who is it real for? The internet as vehicle

Who is it real for? The internet as vehicle by Kate Mothes

the internet as vehicle - delphian magazine

Salad Days – an online exhibition with Young Space

 

(This column came from a late-night post on Facebook, which generated a discussion that I was thinking about for days after. When social media is genuinely social, it can be incredibly rewarding. This column is essentially that Facebook post, edited for clarity, with some of the thoughts from comments woven in.)

 

There’s a misconception (which I subscribed to for a long time) that everyone in the art world is rich. Like, stinking, rotten rich. They have this beautiful white cube space; they take collectors out to dinner; they’re jet-setting from art fair to art fair; they’re dealing in fine art, a luxury item, for crying out loud. “They” feels totally disparate from “me,” the indie creative person, plugging along, disconnected from the glamour I associate with that lifestyle. It’s a lot more complex and stratified than that now, and the internet can be both blamed and lauded for its ability to simultaneously mask and manufacture ideas about that lifestyle.

 

It’s easy, as an independent creative, on principle, to assume that the big guys are always out to get the little guys. Does anyone else assume that everyone else on Instagram is rich? Or has the luxury to make art 24/7? I do too, and then I have to remember that it’s an aspirational platform, and much of this is fabrication, or an omission of the details that make life livable – working 60 hours per week, taking care of a house, getting the kids to school on time, and soo on. It’s easy to mistrust what looks a lot like big money, when money is something you generally scrape by for. The internet has already changed that “them vs. me” mentality, and continues to do so, and I, for one, am doing something within the art world that would not be possible without the internet. So why am I still so confounded by it?

 

I alternately describe myself as a curator, a presenter, an influencer, an organizer, or a producer, or simply a collaborator, depending on what I’m working on that minute. I also acknowledge that I’m working within a globalized contemporary art world – somewhere in between artists’ studios and commercial galleries’ back rooms – and that’s a wide net to cast, and the depths are blurry. Also, the vast majority of everything I do is online, a playing field that has been leveled by social media platforms to allow for more ways to showcase and access art, while at the same time raising questions about how it’s homogenizing the field itself.

 

I currently live in a blue-collar city in Northern Wisconsin, where I grew up and where it is exceptionally affordable. It’s a place where, however, the art scene we associate with New York City, London, or Hong Kong, does not reach one spindly tendril. I justify to myself that I’m here because there’s an ironic cachet to rurality in contemporary art, and it’s a little bit weird, but the truth is that it’s out of sheer necessity. There is simply no way I would be able to focus as much time and energy on the creative route I’ve found myself on, if I was a rent slave in New York. Every day, though, I wish I could be there. So, I use the internet to keep a finger on the pulse, establish connections, and work on projects. I’m always remote. And I am connected to countless others online who operate in a similar way.

 

The internet, which billions of us now use, is at the center of my (hopefully not too navel-gazey) fascination with the directions that the art world moves, how opportunities are generated, and how attitudes toward various art world geographies and players continue to shift. Its role in the arts is paradoxical in that it is essential across the board for myriad reasons, from advertising to networking, however it can be seen as a necessity or an alternative. Where that line is drawn depends entirely on who’s using it, and who their audience is.

 

There are advisors, consultants, developers, designers, curators, artist-curators, brokers, nomadic spaces, publishers, online auctions, Instagram galleries, virtual spaces, etc. The ways that artists can reach audiences these days is AMAZING. But we’re still not comfortable with the fast pace at which the Internet, and the way we look at art, is changing how we make, learn about, and purchase artwork. In the digital age, we try our best to keep up with how fast the art world moves, at the same time knowing that the digital sphere is the epicenter of innovation today. The art world is no exception.

 

From a more philosophical point of view, assuming that there is or should ever be one way of looking, finding, experiencing, interacting with, making, or sharing artwork = absolutely ludicrous. Because I was raised by artists, resisted academia despite the pressure to pursue it, was influenced by artist-led culture, and have always been driven to DO and MAKE as a way of being, I’m hard-wired to see alternatives to everything. Not that the way I want to do it is better–it might fail horribly–but if it hasn’t really been done this way before, or if I have a certain set of tools in my toolbox that I didn’t before, why shouldn’t an alternative at least be attempted?

 

The Internet has revved up to hyper-speed the rate at which we experience, view, participate in, and connect with art and art people. Without it, my project, a nomadic online-offline curatorial contemporary platform called Young Space, would not exist. I’m extremely interested in how fast things move and what sort of information we as creatives share online. How can we use this as a vehicle? How does it help? How does it hinder? What are the limitations, and what are the open horizons?

 

I’ve been doing this experimental series of online exhibitions, the most recent called Salad Days, which has had a great response. However, I admit I feel weird about these. I feel weird because they’re not “real.” But then I mentally slap myself and think, DUH, YES, THEY ARE REAL. They are very real. And I want to do more of them.

 

Why do I feel like these are not real? Maybe there’s a disconnect between the “analog” artwork and the “virtual” vessel. This may feel difficult to reconcile, even if all of the other pieces of the puzzle add up to a very traditional way of presenting a show… it’s simply that the exhibition space is a website. Is that stilla scary idea? The question is perhaps not so much is it a scary idea, but to whom.Because, in fact, almost all of the complaints I receive are from artists, and I would argue it’s because there is still a perception that the internet is simply “easier.” I’m arguing that it’s not; the work and time we invest just looks different.

 

These online shows have been more popular and just as well-received as the physical shows I’ve curated (so far), so I’m really intrigued as to why, when I do an online show, I receive much more flack for it than when I do a physical one. Full disclosure, it usually has to do with either a fee required to apply, or commission taken from sales. These are sore spots for artists because there’s already so much expense to just make the work, let alone the time invested. (I think it’s a mistake to proclaim that pay-to-play is, across the board, horrible. YES, sometimes they are really lame. But if one does their research, it’s not difficult to find out if something is legit, and if that person is really working in your best interest. That is an essay for another time.)

 

There seems to be a bizarrely fine line between the idea of “supporting” artists and “exploiting” them. Money is still the core of this, which is unfortunate and ironic, as artists are educated in making art for art’s sake, but realistically they are thrust into an art world that values the appearance of that, but the bottom line is still about sales. This points to a big debate within art schools about whether to teach artists business practices. Because the art world artists strive to get into is about money. Art for art’s sake? Sure. But you still need to eat.

 

Online exhibitions are not new. I’m fascinated that they are such a tender spot. For example, Artsy offers a resource called ‘The Gallery’s Guide to Online Exclusive Shows.’As I see it, online shows are more accessible than a physical space. More people can see them, in any part of the world, at any time of day. It’s less expensive, as there’s no need to rent space, or pay for packing or shipping. That money can be spent on increased advertising, web fees, saves artists the trouble shipping work unless it sells, and the artists still have documentation of a professionally curated exhibition. The work does sell sometimes, but sometimes it doesn’t, of course.

 

I, for one, don’t think in dollars and cents about online shows. Young Space is not really a commercial venture – it’s a curatorial platform. It’s a “project.” The value comes from a different direction: I’m attempting to position myself as a facilitator for these artists, as opposed to acting as a dealer. I can’t even count how many artists from my Instagram or exhibitions have been selected for exhibitions or projects, not to mention galleries’ rosters! (Do I get a cent from any of that? No.)

 

Perhaps trouble arises because of a problem that is as old as the internet itself: Can I trust that you are you who say you are, and that you will do what you say you will do? How is this different than any other Instagram account? Who do you know? What are your credentials? (My answer to that is always DO YOUR RESEARCH. Ask. Don’t assume that everyone’s out there to get you.) Pro tip: Artists, don’t be accusatory, arrogant, or assume you know everything right out of the gate. If you do, you can bet I’m never going to want to work with you, or recommend you to anyone, period. I would never presume to know how someone else’s work was made, having never tried myself.

the internet as vehicle - delphian magazine

Salad Days – an online exhibition with Young Space

 

Recently, smaller galleries are shuttering their doors, decentralizing from urban cultural centers, or pursuing online platforms. Gallerists that once maintained brick and mortar locations are now dealing artwork without the real estate overhead. They’re in a double-bind, because they have to keep up appearances, and yes, keep with tradition (the comfort of the brick and mortar, the philosophical dilemma of getting rid of a physical space and still being able to call oneself a gallerist), even when they are struggling. If they admit they’re not doing well, they look like they can’t hold it together, rather than the opposite being the case: rising rents are not only forcing artists out, but galleries too. If they pretend they’re doing just fine when they’re actually freaking the F out, they’re fighting a losing battle too, because they’ll eventually not be able to sustain at the same pace, and they’ll fold anyway.

 

Advertising and fair fees are immense, the pressure to do them is intense, and competition can be cutthroat. There are the motherships – Gagosian, Saatchi, PACE and the like. There are some great mid-tier galleries, excellent smaller galleries, and some very exciting startups. Great galleries are often side hustles. I’m not saying there aren’t some seriously putridly rich people out there; many of them are. But many are just doing OK.

 

It’s worth remembering that artists have historically been kept separate from the art world until they are “welcomed in” by a gatekeeper, whether it’s a gallerist or a collector or simply someone who knows someone. In a sense, even my project Young Space is like a lower-tier gate – one that aims to offer early career and emerging artists the chance to have their work showcased to an audience comprised of gallerists, curators, collectors, and other artists. The competition is fierce, the animosity spreads like moss… it takes a lot to keep your chin up, let alone find emotional or mental room for optimism when you feel like you’re getting overlooked again and again. It’s not that you don’t have something of value to offer; it may be that the time is just not right yet.

 

Regardless, there’s a system in place and there are rules. Rules that supposedly can be broken–but can they? There are things that are simply “not done,” like the classic no-no of walking into a gallery with your portfolio hoping they’ll be inspired by your courage and place you on their roster. But of course, feel free to innovate or approach those boundaries all you like… at your peril. There is so much code-switching in the art world, it boggles the mind. The internet, though, is a place where there is power to influence and to be seen, as the connectivity we can achieve now, via social media especially, was unheard of a decade ago.

 

No, an online show will never be the same as viewing work in person. Never. But I find the resistance to–and cynicism toward–virtual modes of sharing artwork a little awkward at this point. This is a whole new realm of connectivity, and as creatives this is what we do. This is the game! Try weird shit! For a while I was irritated and took criticism about these things personally (Young Space is a solo project after all, it’s sometimes hard to disengage). But I’m realizing that this nerve is perhaps exactly the reason it’s worth exploring.

 

For more guest articles, see Charley Peters’ interview with Remi Rough


2019 Open Call!

Looking to exhibit your work in London this year?

Well, the our 2019 Open Call could be just for you! 

2019 open call

Last Year’s Winners Exhibition

It’s totally free to enter and if selected you could

have your work included in our Spring print exhibition at our Shoreditch gallery space!

 

Not only that, but the first prize winner will win a fully funded solo exhibition with Delphian Gallery in London in 2019!

 

To submit your work all you have to do is post it on Instagram

  1. Hashtag #delphianopencall
  2. Tag @delphiangallery in the description
  3. Follow us (we may need to message you on Instagram)

 

We’ll be reposting some of our favourites along the way and the winners will be announced at the beginning of April. Keep your eyes peeled on our Instagram and Facebook feeds for updates!

2019 open call

Last Year’s overall winner Florence Hutchings’ solo show

To see the photos of last year’s Open Call, please click THIS LINK

 

Exhibition kindly supported by theprintspace

 


Faded Glory – Benjamin Murphy and Nick JS Thompson in San Francisco

Our next show Faded Glory opens next month in San Francisco!

This is the first fully-collaborative exhibition between artists and Delphian Gallery directors Benjamin Murphy and Nick JS Thompson.

Faded Glory - Benjamin Murphy and Nick JS Thompson

Faded Glory – Benjamin Murphy and Nick JS Thompson

Since 2012, the pair have collaborated in many ways, including founding the peripatetic gallery Delphian, which has gone on to have a string of sold-out shows since its inception in 2018.

Despite their long history of collaboration, Faded Glory will be the first time that the immensely different styles of work from the two artists has sat together in a way in which the works coalesce to form one coherent whole. The similarities enhance the differences, which allows the autonomous works to add to, and to contradict, one another in a way that enhances each through the union of both.

In this show, the paintings by Murphy will be hung atop, within, and below the photography by Thompson, so as to deconstruct the barrier between each.

The experimental curatorial style that is so synonymous with Delphian will make its presence known, as the two artist/ curators will apply their signature curatorial style to their own works for the first time. Faded Glory is a show about how the perceived differences between two separate processes can sit symbiotically, making the whole more than the sum of its parts.

The Exhibition opens at Book And Job Gallery in San Francisco on the 7th of February, and runs until the 13th.

To RSVP for the private view, please go HERE


More from Benjamin Murphy HERE

More From Nick JS Thompson HERE


My Top Five – Bloomberg New Contemporaries – By Hector Campbell

My Top Five – Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2018 – By Hector Campbell

 

Bloomberg New Contemporaries annual open submission exhibition returned this year to Peckham’s South London Gallery for the first time in almost two decades. Founded in 1949, New Contemporaries is the UK’s leading organisation for supporting emerging talent from British art schools, helping contemporary visual artists bridge the gap between an arts education and a professional artistic practise.

Spread across both the South London Gallery’s main building and newly opened Fire Station galleries, the 2018 edition of Bloomberg New Contemporaries marks the first year artists have been included from non-degree awarding courses. The selection panel, made up of UK artists Benedict Drew, Katy Moran (New Contemporaries alumni 2006) and Keith Piper (New Contemporaries alumni 1986) have chosen 57 artists for this years exhibition, whose work spans the mediums of drawing, painting, sculpture, installation, performance and video.

Therefore, if you can’t make it to the exhibition, which runs until February 24th, here is a rundown of my top five Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2018 artists, (in no particular order).

 

 

  1. Emma Fineman
Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2019

Emma Fineman, ‘My Hometown Was Burning and All I Could Think Of Was That Sun Bleached Wall I Pictured in A Dream About The Dominican Republic’, Oil and charcoal on canvas, 2017.

 Image Source

 

Graduating last year with an MA in Painting from the Royal College of Art, Emma has exhibited widely with solo shows in both San Francisco and London, and group exhibitions showcasing emerging artists such as ‘FBA Futures’, ‘Orbit UK Art Graduates Show’ and ‘RBA Rising Stars’.

Describing her work as ‘Personal narrative painting’, Emma explores our means of navigating and understanding contemporary culture. With the age of information overload upon us, Emma pushes painting’s ability to capture a snapshot of time or experience, creating works that transcend traditional narrative timelines and act as a way of journaling for the artist. The introduction of figurative elements within her fragtured painted backgrounds expressing how it feels to navigate the contemporary, increasingly virtual, world.

Emma has upcoming solo exhibitions at both BEERS Londonand Public Gallerylater this year.

 

Website/Instagram

 

 

  1. Rebecca Harper
Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2019

Rebecca Harper, ‘Stouping’, Acrylic and oil bar on canvas, 2017.

 Image Source

 

Winner of the ASC Studio Prize 2018, Rebecca graduated from Turps Art School last year having previously completed post-graduate study at The Royal Drawing School.

Despite nowadays producing large-scale paintings, her artistic practice is rooted in drawing and sketching the people, places and interactions that Rebecca observes while living in London. These initial drawings are then combined and scaled up to create her paintings, often recontextualising characters and rearranging settings from multiple preliminary sketches to produce an imagined yet cohesive narrative work. The paintings therefore become both fiction and fact, a half-remembered happening or a convincing dream.

Rebecca is currently preparing for a solo exhibition, ‘Chameleon’, at Anima Mundi Galleryin St Ives later this year, previewed when the gallery presented a solo booth of her new paintings at the recent London Art Fair.

 

Website/Instagram

 

 

  1. Mimi Hope
bloomberg new contemporaries 2019

Mimi Hope, ‘Fingers Crossed’, Cast Jesmonite, 2017.

 Image Source

 

Having completed her BA at Chelsea College of Arts, Mimi received studio space from the prestigious Sarabande: The Lee Alexander McQueen Foundation.

Taken from a larger body of work exploring ideas of desire and aspirational imagery through the lens of The National Lottery, ‘Fingers Crossed’ sees the recognisable ‘Play Here’ advertising stand replicated in jesmonite. The usually airy blue plastic bubbles become a greyish totemic sculpture, evoking thoughts of permanence and certainty not often associated with The National Lottery. The once playful advertising stand now reappropriated as a tombstone to the dead hopes and dreams of those taken in my it’s former ‘Play Here’, crossed-fingers temptation.

Mimi is participating in an upcoming residency programme, Palazzo Monti, in Brescia, Italy later this year.

 

Website/Instagram

 

 

  1. Francisco Rodríguez
bloomberg new contemporaries 2019

Francisco Rodriguez, ‘Ghosts’, Oil on Canvas, 2017.

 Image Source

 

 

Francisco completed an MFA in Painting from the Slade School of Fine Year last year, having previously studied both a BA and Post-Graduate Diploma at Universidad de Chile in his hometown of Santiago, Chile.

Inspired by graphic novels and anime films/television, much of Francisco’s work retains a certain cinematic quality, recalling the layout of preliminary story-boards or comic strips. Memories of the post-industrial Chilean landscapes of his upbringing act as the backdrop within which the the artist can place his nefarious figures. The artists predominantly male characters, their faces partially obscured by a hats, shadows and masks, loiter through the urban scenes, cigarette in mouth, hiding their intentions as much as their identity. Permeated with feelings of isolation and loneliness easily experienced by those first exploring a large city, Francisco captures emotion through the use of fine line work and a muted colour palette of greens, greys and oranges. 

Whether viewed separately or as part of a cohesive series, such as at Francisco’s current solo exhibition ‘The Burning Plain’ at Cooke Latham Gallery(which runs until March 1st), the audience is invited to create their own narrative through the works.

 

Website/Instagram

 

 

  1. Antonia Showering
bloomberg new contemporaries 2019

Antonia Showering, Introspective Views, Oil on canvas, 2017.

 Image Source

 

Another recently Slade School of Fine Art masters graduate, Antonia also completed her BA and Foundation Diploma at City and Guilds of London Art School and Chelsea College of Arts respectively, her education a triumvirate of prestigious London art schools.

Antonia has exhibited widely since graduating, including ‘In The Company Of’ at TJ Boultingin London (curated by The Great Women Artistsfounder Katy Hessel), ‘Kennedy-Doig & Showering’ at Baert Galleryin Los Angeles (curated by Louis Blanc-Francard) and ‘Inhabiting The Dome’ at Whiteley’s Shopping Centre in London (curated by Cara Mills).

Antonia’s paintings have the power to evoke a deep nostalgia of events you’ve never experienced, places you’ve never been and people you’ve never met. Combining a palette of golden yellows, rich reds and fertile greens with subdued, delicate brush strokes to capture the very essence of fleeting memories. Landscapes that stretch far beyond the confines of the canvas are populated by vague, often ghost-like figures repeating and reinacting the artist’s recollections.

Antonia will feature in ‘Out Of This World’ a group exhibition at Stephen Friedman Galleryin London showcasing female figurative artists, which opens February 7th.

 

 

Website/Instagram

 

To read more from Hector Campbell, see his Top Five from Condo 2019

 


Fluidity of Shape: A Conversation Between Benjamin Murphy and Igor Moritz

Fluidity of Shape – A conversation between Benjamin Murphy and Igor Moritz

Igor Moritz is an incredibly exciting young artist whom I discovered through our mutual friend Andrew Salgado. His approach to painting the human form speaks of expressionism – with the distorted and contorted form, with the awkward perspectives – painted expertly. His paintings are reminiscent of both Egon Schiele and Henri Matisse, whilst being entirely and refreshingly unique. For such a young artist, he has developed a signature style that most would be envious of. His output is incredibly consistent, whether working in coloured pencil on his specially-prepared paper, or with the more traditional use of oil paint and canvas.

Fluidity of shape - delphian gallery

October by Igor Moritz

BM – Firstly – Why are you an artist?

IM – I think over the last couple of years, looking has crossed over from something that’s passive into something that’s very active in my life. I’ve become absolutely obsessed with everything from colour combinations, facial expressions, to the perception of space and fluidity of shape. Since I have started taking so many things in, I have the necessity to let some of it out too.

BM – So is your feeling of necessity a compulsion? From my own experience, the creative act is almost like a drug I need to stay sane, and I get very frustrated if I can’t work for an extended period of time.

IM – Oh yes, definitely. You can say it’s a compulsion, where the obsession would be the looking. I get extremely fidgety and overwhelmed by everything if I haven’t been painting for a day or so.

BM – Going back to your use of space and shape, where do the distortions of and experiments with these come from? Do you see those things as they appear in your work, or do you intentionally distort them, and if so, for what purpose?

IM – I aim for realism in my work. What I mean by that is, that there is no way to portray any three-dimensional thing on a two-dimensional plane with no distortion. All things have an infinite amount of looks attached to them, and I try to grasp a bit of that essence. I will go about doing that to my advantage, by morphing it the right way to contribute to formal aspects of the work. I have noticed a fundamental change in how I see things, maybe it’s my growing astigmatism or a perception disorder.

BM – Your use of colour is also interesting, it’s as if Francis Bacon had a child with Henri Matisse, and that child grew up to be Igor Moritz. Who are your biggest influences and how do those influences trickle down into your work?

IM – Colour is another phenomenon that is an obsession of mine, and a big driving force in my work. The two you mentioned above know how to use it brilliantly, and are two of the big loves of my life. In terms of colour I’m humbled by Kandinsky’s work from the late 1930s – he seemed to have figured it out. Other artists I look up to would include people like Kirchner, Tal R, Freud, Degas and portraits from the Polish master Witkacy.

BM – So lets talk a bit about the technicality of your works. You are unquestionably a brilliant draftsman but your drawing technique is quite unusual. Tell me about the way you soak paper in linseed oil and how this alters the work.

IM – I don’t know if I can be credited with the invention of that technique but I haven’t seen it used by anyone else. What I do is soak the back of the paper in linseed oil, so that the paper has a sort-of self-lubricating feel to it. When drawing on it with coloured pencils the crushed pigment seems to connect with oil and create an opaque and vibrant finish. What is unusual is that the drawings dry like paintings would, so they do not smudge when done.

BM – Would you say your practice is dependent on experimentation in general?

IM – I just don’t want things to go stale. So I constantly try to find new and better ways of doing what I do.

BM – How have your design-based studies influenced your painting?

IM – It has definitely provided me with a greater insight and respect for objects. It has made me understand the dead things that have a lot of soul and an emotional presence too.

BM – Dead things in what sense?

IM – Sorry I got that from the Polish – in Polish a still life is called Dead Nature. I meant objects, so things like chairs, cups, tables, and scissors etc.

BM – Oh, I like it. So do you approach a ‘dead thing’ any differently to how you approach painting the living?

IM – Not anymore, I hope to be able to paint a chair with as much emotion as someone I love.

To view more of Igor’s work, please click THIS LINK

To purchase prints, please click THIS LINK

 

Originally published in This Is Tomorrow


Remi Rough in conversation with Dr. Charley Peters

Remi Rough (b. 1971, London, UK) began making paintings on walls and trains in South London in the 1980s. A respected train writer, Remi has maintained a dynamic presence on the street while developing a prolific profile as a studio painter, recently showing at MOCA (London), Wunderkammen Gallery (Rome), Zimmerling & Jungfleisch (Saarbrucken) and ArtScience Museum (Singapore).

I spoke to the artist about the formal concerns of his work, his relationship with definitions of his practice, and the legacy of abstraction in the ongoing evolution of his paintings.

remi rough portrait

Installation at Quarry Bay Station, Hong Kong for MTRHK and Swire Properties.
Hong Kong 2018.

[Charley Peters] How do you feel at this point in your career about definitions of your work as ‘graffiti art’? Could you say something about the relationship between your work on the street and the paintings you make in the studio, presumably they may have different audiences or you might apply a shift in logic in your approaches to both practices? 
[Remi Rough] I can totally live with the word ‘graffiti’, it’s other terms I’m a lot less comfortable with. I often use the term ‘post graffiti’ as I think it best describes where I am personally with the kind of work that I make now.
I don’t consciously make any shift in logic between my studio work and work in public spaces, to me the same rules apply. If i’m honest the work outside is a lot easier because you can hide behind your mistakes due to the scale you’re working to. The studio work if anything is a more refined version of the works I do publicly.
[CP] Are there any terms that you feel comfortable with in terms of how you would define yourself as an artist? 
[RR] I really think that what I do sits in-between so many brackets it’s actually quite hard to pinpoint what genre (if any), it is. Contemporary is fine for me, as I mentioned before ‘post graffiti’ as an adjective to the work is fine also. I used to use the term painter but even that has less importance to me now. I have ideas way beyond just paint on surface.
remi rough canvas

The Absolute _ 2017
Graphite, acrylic and spray paint on herringbone linen
120 x 120cm

[CP] How would you describe your working process?
[RR] Mathematical… I don’t think people really know just how much mathematics goes into the work I create. Without maths I’d be completely lost. I use geometry to plan the paintings I make and from there I start to build the images up from simple graphite lines to taped, primed sections to final colour forms. It’s a slow process with tape and paint as drying times are essential to every layer.
[CP] You engage actively in processes of collaboration with other artists. In some ways this is at odds with our conventional definitions of a studio artist – could you talk through your approach to collaboration and how it enhances or supplements the work you make as an individual artist?
[RR] As young graffiti writers we collaborated constantly. You have to remember that graffiti is the only art form ever created by and taken forward by children and with that there are less oppressive egos and much more openness to working together. We don’t have the foibles of most adult artists about working together and sharing what we do. Nowadays I like the challenge of working alongside and with other artists. I think about the end results and the process in equal terms. I get a lot from this process. For example one artist I have done a lot of work with over the past few years is NAWER from Poland. As well as being a fantastic artist and amazing designer he’s a good friend and we’ve both learnt loads from each other. Working out how to make our styles of work sit comfortably together in a space and not vie for attention against each other is a big challenge but we seem to have found a great way of working. I am not precious about my work when I’m collaborating, I think big decisions about the people you work with are very important too.
[CP] You use a very particular colour palette, how important is colour to you and how do you make decisions about its presence in your painting?
[RR] A think a lot of the colour decisions happen during the drawing process. I tend to make notes on particular palettes and see what works for what painting. Weirdly the paintings I make are often not wholly pre-meditated. A lot happens as it happens so to speak.
That said I tend to change colours quite a lot during making work too. I seem to have a strong sense of what is needed and when. I think if graffiti has taught me one thing it’s knowing when to stop.
[CP] You make many art historical references in your painting – alluding to movements including Suprematism, Constructivism and Neo-Plasticism. I find this interesting as much work that is derived from a practice on the street fails to look beyond or be defined outside of popular culture as a frame of reference. How do these modernist references provide a context for your own painting? How does your work challenge or develop what art history has shown us?
[RR] Graffiti as an art form is one of the last true abstract movements. We took letters, we distorted them and abstracted them way beyond their original form. There were no boundaries, rules or limitations. I was always looking beyond populist references whether it was Dali or Mondrian or later when I started educating myself about history of art and understanding the limitless options of where I could take my work. As I have never been formally educated in art I have always taken it upon myself to fill my mind with knowledge both academic and visual. Hence the discovery of De Stijl, Constructivism, Vorticism, Bauhas and beyond. The context for me lies in the beginnings of all these movements. I was part of the inception of a similar important and historical movement. My life and the lives of Malevich, Van Doesburg or the suprematists are intertwined. I needed to find a voice within my work, I needed to find a structure and as the letter gradually fell away, the words that I painted become the architecture that surrounds us or the magazines we read or the interiors we live in. It’s all part of our cultural fabric and seemingly more evident now then ever before as we don’t have to fight oppressive governments to be heard or seen and don’t have to hide what we do because it’s deemed inappropriate. It’s still coded language much like graffiti writing but it’s easier to translate now.
remi rough wall painting

Concise
Part of the ‘Art from the streets’ exhibition at the Art Science Museum, Singapore
Singapore 2018.

[CP] At times it feels that you are appropriating modernist aesthetics, such as your works based on Malevich’s Black Square, which appear as a mashup of original referent and your own concerns with making paintings. I’m intrigued by this as a contemporary – or at least familiarly postmodern – form of authorship. Is there any direct relationship between this strategy of visual ‘sampling’ and the work you do with music?  
[RR] It’s all remixing. Malevich didn’t invent the ‘black square’ he simply found a channel for it. Everything we do is a remix to a certain degree. Every word we speak has been uttered trillions of times already. Every image exists in some way shape or form already, it’s how you choose to re-imagine it that makes for interesting art. As much as I love a lot of that early suprematist work I think a lot of it wasn’t quite where it should be in terms of composition or finish. We can look at those origins now and inform new work with similarly imbued aesthetics and tweak the compositions and the finishes and add something that just wasn’t possible in the early 20th Century.
[CP] I was wondering, given your interest in formalism, how important is the presence of the ‘image’ in your work?
[RR] The image is everything and nothing. I guess it isn’t that important to me but once work becomes known as a style or an aesthetic does it not become an image by default? 
My main concern with painting is to push the boundaries of this as far as possible but still retain some kind of stylistic approach. To never make the same painting twice but for the viewer to know exactly what and who they are looking at I guess.
For more work by Remi Rough, visit his website HERE
And for more by Charley Peters, visit her website HERE
Remi Rough and Charley Peters are both exhibiting as part of the three-way collaborative show Interlude at The House Of Saint Barnabus alongside Peter Lamb – on until the end of March.
For more guest articles, check out Rowan Newton interviewing Robin Footitt HERE

A Long Way From Home – RSVP for the private view now!

We are very excited to be launching our next show, A Long Way From Home with Kevin Perkins and Igor Moritz next week!

 

A Long Way From Home - Kevin Perkins and Igor Moritz

Igor Moritz

 

Kevin Perkins and Igor Moritz are two incredibly exciting early-career artists whose work shares a vibrancy that is expressed through their shared passions for form, line, and colour.

Two unique artists are paired because of their individual, but shared experimentations with figuration. Each artist brings their distinct perspective to their subjects, which both distorts and exaggerates certain formal qualities to enhance the whole.

The title ‘A Long Way From Home’ refers to the adventure and experimentation present in the practice of both artists, who have approached the show collaboratively despite living on separate continents and never having met in person.

The curatorial style of Delphian Gallery will make its mark on the show also, which will result in a exhibition of works by two intriguing artists, that forms together almost as if it is by one creator, while still maintaining the distinct integrity and individuality of each.

A Long Way From Home - Kevin Perkins and Igor Moritz

Kevin Perkins

For more details and to RSVP for free tickets visit the link below.

HERE

To request the catalogue of available works please email
info@delphiangallery.com

Exhibition kindly supported by theprintspace.

 

To see photos of the Open Call, in which Igor was exhibited, please go HERE

To see photos of Obscurely Prophetic, in which Kevin was exhibited, please go HERE


Marina Abramovic’s Rhythm 0

Marina Abramovic – Rhythm 0

Words and illustration by Benjamin Murphy – Originally published in AfterNyne Magazine

Marina Abramovic - Rhythm 0

Sketch by Benjamin Murphy

In 1974, twenty three year old Serbian-born artist Marina Abramovic created the most poignant and shocking performance artwork to date. Rhythm 0 was a captivating social experiment, and one that has still not been surpassed 43 years later.

 

Gallery visitors were met with a standing but immobile Abramovic, beside her a table containing a plethora of seventy-two seemingly unconnected objects. Some were clearly intended to give pleasure: a rose, grapes, perfume, and a feather were included. Some others were more sinister: a whip, nails, a razorblade, scissors, a pistol, and a single bullet.

The audience was then asked to explore the objects and use them upon her body in any way they wish, whilst for the next six hours all responsibility for their actions was assumed by Marina.

 

 

Placed upon the table was the following text.

Instructions.

There are 72 objects on the table that one can use on me as desired.

Performance.

I am the object.

During this period I take full responsibility.

 

Duration: 6 hours (8 pm – 2 am)

 

At first, the crowd was sheepish and their actions innocuous, giving her the rose to hold and generally not doing much. After a while, mob-mentality took control and the crowd got more vicious. With tears streaming down her cheeks Abramovic stood immobile and stoic whilst her clothes were cut off (in a similar way to Yoko Ono’s Cut Piecefrom ten years before) and her neck was sliced with a razorblade. The man who cut her then leant forwards and placed his lips to the fresh wound and drank her blood. It left a scar that she still has to this day. She was touched in intimate places, and according to art critic Thomas McEvilley “…she would not have resisted rape or murder”.

In the post-apocalyptic dystopia we see so often in books and films, once state authority is removed society becomes feral and vicious.

 

One visitor put the bullet in the pistol and placed it in her hand pointing at her own neck, no doubt willing her to pull the trigger. At this point even the gallery staff thought the work had gone too far, and “went crazy”, grabbing the gun and throwing it out of the window. All the time Abramovic never moved.

She was picked up and carried to a table, placed upon it, and had a kitchen knife thrust between her legs into the wood of the table, in a symbolic gesture that symbolizes both rape and murder.

Abramovic’s ability to transcend physical and psychological pain through sheer mental strength is astounding, but it is not the main focal point of this work.

Marina Abramovic - Rhythm 0

What makes this work so frightening is that it took a simple absolution of guilt for this randomly collected cross section of society to resort to viciousness and disregard for human life. It calls to mind the Milgram experiment, in which volunteers were informed that they were required to electrocute another volunteer. The volunteers were unaware that the experimenter and the person being electrocuted were in cahoots, and any response to electrocution was staged. The confederate would be asked questions, and any incorrect answer was met with an electric shock – increasing in power for every subsequent shock.

 

In this experiment, the volunteer was absolved any responsibility, and therefore continued to obey the instructor, despite the obvious danger. Many of the participants showed visible signs of distress throughout, and were clearly complying begrudgingly.

It was an experiment to see if obedience to authority would overrule the volunteer’s conscience, and their natural fears for another’s safety. It questions whether the volunteers could be considered accomplices to the act, and was inspired by the trial of Adolf Eichmann in 1961, just three months before.

 

In Rhythm 0 however, not only did the viewers enact ‘real horror’, but they did so with relish. The audience was not acting under orders from an authority figure as they were in the Milgram Experiment, but were given the authority to act autonomously. In the Milgram experiment, most of the volunteers protested the instructions and showed many signs of extreme distress, but in Rhythm 0 they seemed to enjoy what they were doing.

 

One would expect that the participants would display reticence to act freely due to the Hawthorne Effect (the modification or dilution of ones natural behavior due to the knowledge that one is being observed), but this is actually not the case, as the participants showed an eagerness to experiment in ever increasing gradations of severity.

It is also possible that the absolution of responsibility allowed the spectators to play out some of their darkest fantasies. The symbolic hematophagy is suggestive of the participant assuming power or control over Abramovic, and asserting their dominance.

 

They saw Marina as an object, and they played with her sadistically like a cat with a mouse. They were also required to use their own creativity when deciding in which way the objects were used, and it is surprising how quickly they abandoned the safe objects in favor of the truly dangerous ones. The dehumanization that occurs is in part due to Abramovic’s immobility, in part due to her silence, and in part due to the acts of objectification enacted upon her by other members of the crowd. It is in part because the spectators saw their contemporaries enacting hostilities that they felt able to also.

She took some of the ideas originally explored just 13 years prior, and took them to their most extreme point.

 

Marina Abramovic - Rhythm 0

Marina Abramovic – Rhythm 0

 

Performance art is similar in many ways to theatre, but as Abramovic has shown there are some subtle but definite differences. Horror within the theatre is inauthentic, but at least in some cases, within performance art it is real.

 

In 1891 Oscar Wilde explored this topic in his essay The Critic As Artist.

“…Art does not hurt us. The tears that we shed at a play are a type of the exquisite sterile emotion that it is the function of art to awaken. We weep, but we are not wounded. We grieve, but our grief is not bitter.”

 

Almost a hundred years later, Abramovic proved this to be incorrect.

 

For more critique by Benjamin Murphy

Chris Burden – Dormant Chaos

Santiago Sierra – The Strangeness of Reality

Conversation with Billy Childish


NEXT SHOW ANNOUNCEMENT – A Long Way From Home – Kevin Perkins & Igor Moritz

We are incredibly excited to announce that our next show A Long Way From Home opens on the 17th of January!

Kevin Perkins and Igor Moritz are two incredibly exciting early-career artists whose work shares a vibrancy that is expressed through their shared passions for form, line, and colour.

A Long Way From Home - Kevin Perkins

Kevin Perkins’ work from our inaugural group show ‘Obscurely Prophetic’

Two unique artists are paired because of their individual, but shared experimentations with figuration. Each artist brings their distinct perspective to their subjects, which both distorts and exaggerates certain formal qualities to enhance the whole.

The title ‘A Long Way From Home’ refers to the adventure and experimentation present in the practice of both artists, who have approached the show collaboratively despite living on separate continents and never having met in person.

A Long Way From Home - Igor Moritz

Igor Moritz’s work from our first Open Call

The curatorial style of Delphian Gallery will make its mark on the show also, which will result in a exhibition of works by two intriguing artists, that forms together almost as if it is by one creator, while still maintaining the distinct integrity and individuality of each.

To request the catalogue of available works please email

Info@delphiangallery.com

 

To RSVP for the private view, please click this LINK

 

To see photos of the Open Call, in which Igor was exhibited, please go HERE

To see photos of Obscurely Prophetic, in which Kevin was exhibited, please go HERE

 

 

To see


Jordy Kerwick’s FIRST EVER limited edition print release

We are very excited to be releasing Jordy Kerwick’s FIRST EVER limited edition prints.

We have two available, printed from two of the most popular paintings in his debut UK solo show Diary Of An Introvert with us in December 2018. Both are hand-signed and stamped editions of 15.

Jordy Kerwick Limited Edition

Jordy Kerwick Limited Edition

Print Specifications

  • Limited edition print run edition of 15.
  • Signed and numbered by the artist.
  • Stamped with an embossed Delphian Gallery seal to prove authenticity.
  • Supplied with certificate of authenticity to provide limited edition provenance.
  • Size – 50 x 70 cm including a small white border for easy framing.
  • Archival Giclée print with an archival lifespan of up to 200 years.
  • Presented on Hahnemühle Photo Rag premium fine art paper.
  • A slightly off white, matt finish paper with guaranteed archival properties. The paper gives muted blacks with even colour reproduction, and excellent detail. It has a minimal texture and a chalky smooth cotton feel which creates smooth colour gradients.
  • Printed in the UK.
  • Global shipping available.

Jordy Kerwick Limited Edition

Jordy Kerwick Limited Edition

To purchase, please click THIS LINK