Articles Tagged with: artists

Art Aesthetics Review of Diary Of An Introvert

Art Aesthetics magazine have recently reviewed our solo show with Australian painter Jordy Kerwick. Read what they had to say below…

Kerwick’s still lifes are the perfect foil to the quixotic ideals of the artist. He only started painting in 2015, but has risen in truly meteoric fashion having already exhibited as far and wide as New York and San Francisco in the United States, and Paris, Cologne and Hamburg in Europe despite working from Melbourne, Australia. We finally caught up with Kerwick’s first solo UK show, Diary of an Introvert, in South London. I was accompanied, charitably, by Aistè, who generously made time for me having just released a new single, ‘My Only Friend’.

Our destination was Delphian Gallery: the itinerant art space founded by Nick Thompson and Benjamin Murphy. Their brisk existence requires that one show’s success entails the next show’s very premises. (They needn’t worry, Kerwick has done exceptionally well with only a couple of paintings remaining for sale.) So we went to Delphian Gallery’s temporary venue at the AMP Gallery’s space in uber-cool Peckham.

Art Aesthetics

Kerwick’s paintings seem to prevaricate on the ‘artist’ as a figment of our imaginations. (They’re usually stereotyped as philosophy-thinking, chain-smoking, wine-drinking, beret-wearing Frenchies—according to my school’s careers advisor at least.) Of course, they’re not. You’ll struggle to find persons more professional and committed than artists, but bad reputations die hard. Kerwick isn’t scared of utilising these tropes, but makes for some fine self-exposition amid his own painterly equivocation. For by engaging in these tropes, the artist reflexively reveals himself.

Kerwick’s Diary of an Introvert encompasses some thirteen paintings of which twelve are still lifes. You espy geraniums and flytraps, which are usually set atop stacks of books bearing the names of other, bolder artists, thinkers, or musicians. Their spines carry Susan Sontag and Marcel Proust alongside Nick Cave and Patti Smith. (Unfortunately, these musicians aren’t quite to Aistè’s taste.) As for the artists, the works of James Ensor, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Bob Thompson are a world away from Kerwick. Ensor (1860-1949) was a forerunner of Expressionism. His Tribulations of St Anthony (1887) is wildly colourful and surreal for an artist working in the 19th Century. The Fauves (a.k.a., the Wild Beasts) followed on from the Expressionists. They also influenced Bob Thompson’s vivid, but starkly flat compositions. It’s strange, then, to find these artists’ names scrawled against the dull-pastels and ochres of Kerwick, who, when interviewed by Maria Stoljar, blandly said, ‘I really like the muted earthy tones.’ But then quietly proposed that this is ‘probably not a good thing.’ Aistè thinks the same: ‘I just want more colours.’

So other than the plants and the books, what else? You sometimes look at white spots on the canvas and what appear to be unfinished cigarettes; ‘pills and cocaine,’ suggests Aistè, though she’s not really sure if Kerwick is really that kind of guy. You can see what we’re referring to in Diary of an Introvert 7 (2018). You’ve got cigarettes sitting beside the ambiguous white spots and lines on the table. Ian Curtis supports Bob Thompson who supports Basquiat upon whom rests some pink germaniums. We’ve no difficulty imagining Curtis, Thompson and Basquiat taking full advantage of the table’s wares, but not Kerwick. For they’re proper ‘tortured artists’ whose creativity was breath-taking, but quickly burnt out. You sense that Kerwick is ‘looking in’ on these artists, but too self-consciously aware that he’s not them. ‘I don’t smoke,’ he told Stoljar, ‘but you don’t want something to be too pretty and cigarettes aren’t pretty. I still look at people smoking and think it’s cool. I’m not endorsing it for one second.’

We’re accustomed to thinking of painters as cool: rebellious, penniless, alcoholic, perhaps sensitive, but always creative. It’s supposed to come at some cost: they die too soon, are melancholic if not downright mad. (Of course, the truth is rather more boring. But we’re dealing with the popular ‘image’ of the artist.)  Kerwick plays up to this by daubing ‘la paix et la tranquillité et le pressentiment’ on the side of Diary of an Introvert 4 (2018). 

Kerwick’s interview with Stoljar is enlightening. He puts much of his work down to the fear of growing old: ‘not that I was ever cool, but I just feel less cool that I was before.’ We want out artists to be misunderstood and ahead of their time like Ensor; or, tragically cut short like Basquiat; or as expressive and bold as Thompson. Yet Kerwick is none of these things. (He’s happily married with children in Melbourne, Australia.) He’s previously said that ‘home doesn’t possess wonderment for me, not like LA or Paris.’

Nowhere is Kerwick’s self-deprecating character more visibly at work than in Diary of an Introvert 2 (2018) where the works of Voltaire and Trotsky and Gertrude Stein are crowned by ‘Miniature Schnauzers’ (very cool) and supported by the simple admission, ‘I can’t paint’. Aistè reckons he means, ‘I can’t paint…like Basquiat, like Thompson, or like Ensor.’ And yet, sometimes he does. You’ll often come across a Basquiat-like mark, cypher or glyph.

Art Aesthetics

I finally think I’ve got an analogy for Kerwick: He’s more Sancho Panza than Don Quixote. In Miguel de Cervantes’ masterpiece (1605 & 1615) the eponymous character simply reads too many books about chivalrous heroes. So many, in fact, that he loses his mind. He takes these stories so literally that he endeavours to become a grand knight-errant in search of adventure. He’s followed by his ‘squire’ Sancho Panza who serves as the level-headed foil to the wild idealism of Don Quixote.

Kerwick’s paintings proffer Ensor, Thompson and Basquiat as so many Don Quixotes. (How many artists aspire to Basquiat?) But for Kerwick, as for Sancho, these are fictions, so many books, upon which he places his flowers and, with a forthright naïvety, simply paints. ‘It’s kind of sad,’ says Aistè. ‘I think he’d like to be just like those Expressionists and Fauves.’ I disagree, there is such derring-do in these paintings, just obliquely, perfectly referenced. For that, it’s 4/5 stars from me and 3/5 from Aistè (although she admits that maybe that’s just because she doesn’t like Nick Cave and Patti Smith).

Thanks ART AESTHETICS!

See the Art Aesthetics website HERE

And learn more about Jordy HERE, and buy his prints HERE


Transition – How to prosper in the art world

Join us on the 12th December for the panel discussion Transition – how to prosper in the art world. The panel will be chaired by Benjamin Murphy and Nick JS Thompson from Delphian Gallery together with guest speakers Rosalind Davis and Stuart Waplington.

Rosalind Davis is an artist exhibiting globally, as well as being the permanent curator at Collyer Bristow gallery. She is the co-author of the book “What they didn’t teach you at art school”.

Stuart Waplington is the founder of theprintspace, London’s premier fine art printing company. Creativehub, an online software platform, is the go to place for artists to archive images, print, enter competitions, share files and source artworks for sale in online galleries.

The talk will cover topics such as marketing and exhibiting your work, sales and pricing and transitioning from univerity to starting your art career.

***The talk is free to attend but numbers are limited. Please RSVP using the ticket link, which can be found in the Facebook event HERE.***

 

This talk will be hosted at our upcoming show Diary Of An Introvert with the amazing Jordy Kerwick


We asked 45 artists how they found their inspiration, here are their answers…

Paul Weiner (@POWeiner) – I watch what’s happening around me in life. Inspiration is largely tied to intuition for me, and a lot of painterly intuition is formed by what we see in our environment. I want my work to be an artifact of its time.

Charley Peters (@CharleyPeters) – I find it hard to say. I don’t think I can locate inspiration in the real world, I just have a strong desire to make things. Where those things originate from I don’t really know…a mixture of intuitive doing and logical thought, and also maybe referents I’ve absorbed without even realising.

Remi Rough (@RemiRough) – Once a week I make sure I have a ME day and go to see a show or something visual. I also read a lot of art books.

Jonny Green (@JonnyGreenArt) – Inspiration is for amateurs.

Richard Stone (@Artist_Stone) – It’s very cut and paste, mood, often words, lyrics or lines in books but a block of clay or a new canvas are the best windows to other worlds, they traverse.

Kevin Perkins (@Kevin_Perkins_) – I look at a a lot of images and artworks: contemporary, stuff from history, old illustrations/design. And I make a real effort to pay attention to what is going on around me.

Sally Bourke (@Justondark) – I’m inspired by people.

Lee Johnson (@LeeJohnson.eu) – Everywhere

Jenny Brosinski (@Jenny_Brosisnski) – Looking @davidkordanskygallery while I hang out on my studio sofa.

Andy Dixon (@Andy.Dxn) – I can’t turn the part of my brain off that mines for inspiration, to be honest. Be it the colour of someone’s shoes, the curved line of a tunnel, a pattern on a rug, or a leaf of a plant, I can’t help but be constantly indexing sensory information into “good” or “bad” piles – both are equally inspiring.

Klone Yourself (@KloneYourself) – The inspiration is out there, sometimes you get stuck but nobody ever said that you need to be doing this one thing. Switch it up and see that it’s endless.

Daisy Parris (@DaisyParris) – By quietly observing what is happening around me

Jake Chapman (@JakeChapmaniac) – It finds me

Benjamin Murphy (@BenjaminMurphy_) – From literature mainly, and by going to as many exhibitions as I can, even ones I know I’ll hate.

Tom Anholt (@TomAnholt) – Not sure I believe in inspiration but travel definitely refreshes me and fills me with new images.

Spencer Shakespeare (@SpencerShakespeare) – By relaxing.

Rowan Newton (@Rowan_Newton) – My inspiration comes from people, the relationships we have with each other, the relationships we want to have, the people we want to be. The many emotions we go through daily, and how we process that, look at it and deal with it.

Hayden Kays (@HaydenKays) – Everything already exists, it’s just a case of moving it about a little. Move it your own way, and call yourself an artist.

Matthew Allen (@Matthew__Allen) – I ascribe to Richard Serra’s statement that “work comes from work”, meaning that the impulse to continue and explore emerges from what has come before. My practice is an evolving feedback loop of material potentials and process based responses.

Rae Hicks (@Rae_Hicks_On_Gangs) – Coffee and a decent length train journey

Jonni Cheatwood (@Jonni_Cheatwood) – I have my dream job and I’ll have it as long as I can stay out of my own head – That’s inspiring enough to me.

Andrew Salgado (@Andrew.Salgado.Art) – travel. music. read novels.

Soumya Netrabile (@Netrabile) – I just keep myself open to everything I see, encounter, and discover. Sometimes the most mundane things in life are filled with revelations.

Luke Hannam (@LukeHannamPaintings) – Drawing anything and everything as often as possible.

Hedley Roberts (@HedleyRoberts) – I used to have to look for inspiration. Now I’m older I’m more open and it comes to me from everywhere. We live in a world that’s overwhelmed with visual imagery. It’s like trying to get a drink of water from Niagara Falls. But anything can be a start point.

Nick JS Thompson (@nickjsthompson) – Exhibitions, music and history documentaries.

Neva Hosking (@NevaHosking) – I am constantly collecting things that speak to me so I have an archive to peep at when I need ideas .

Justin Long (@_JustinLong) – #fuckbuttons

Erin Lawlor (@TheErinLawlor) – By working – I follow the paint.

Tony Riff (@TonyRiff) – Sometimes ideas just grow from a random thought that’s probably been sitting on the corner of my brain for months. Could be from a song, people I meet, anything really.

Justin Lee Williams (@ArtJLW) – I find it mostly in being on my own building cabins in the woods or talking with odd and strange people , hardly ever do I find it in art it’s self, that part is more just a channel for the craft

Wingshan Smith (@wingshansmith) – The people around me and the stories they come with.

Fiona Grady (@Fiona_Grady) – Everywhere, my work is site responsive so I’m always looking around me. The urban landscape is particularly important – I’ll often stop in the street to take a photo of an architectural detail that captures my attention or shadows cast through a set of railings.

Jordy Kerwick (@JordyKerwick) – Reading and looking. History provides amazing inspo

Obit (@LazyObit) – I read some philosophy, check out the old masters and all sorts. Inspiration is everywhere though my favourite work comes from my own experiences. Honesty always translates.

Anthony Cudahy (@AnthonyCudahy) – Endlessly scrolling, going through physical and digital archives. Looking, looking, looking.

Johnny Thornton (@_JohnnyThornton) – I have surrounded myself with a wonderful community of friends and artists here in this amazing city (NYC). I am inspired everyday.

Magnus Gjoen (@MagnusGjoen) – I travel a lot and find inspiration in nooks and crannies in old churches and museums.

Jesse Draxler (@JesseDraxler) – By not looking for it.

Richie Culver (@RichieCulver) – The Jeremy Kyle Show.

Martin Lukac (@Martin.Lukac) – I dunno inspiration finds me.

Mevlana Lipp (@Mevlana_Lipp) – In art, nature, books and science.

Danny Romeril (@D_Romeril) – Every day life, art books, talking to people, things that happen, anything and everything. nothing is safe. not even tables.

Florence Hutchings (@FlorenceBH) I draw from everyday objects, interiors and scenarios which influence my paintings. But looking at other artists also massively inspires me, going to shows and talking to people around me.

Catherine Haggarty (@Catherine_Haggarty) – I pay close attention to the world around me! I never wait for inspiration. I simply begin working and drawing!

 

For more of these, check out the same artists answering:

What is the one thing about the art world that they wish would disappear forever

and

What is the one bit of advice they would give to young artists at the start of their careers


How to Thrive and Survive as an Artist

Upcoming lecture 
How to Thrive and Survive as an Artist
Saturday 1 December
Chapel Arts Studios, Winchester School of Art, Park Road, Winchester

This talk by Rosalind Davis will help artists at all stages of their careers to understand the practical and philosophical aspects of an art career, and learn how they can navigate the difficult transition from education to making a career as an artist and breaking into the creative industries. A creche will be provided for attendees with young children. Rosalind is also offering 3 artists a 40min 1-1 session on a first come first serve basis. Alternatively you can book a 1-2 advice session with David Dixon (CAS Director) and Susan Francis (CAS Curator).

Watch a video interview with Rosalind talking about a number of subjects including her work, why art, sustainability and philosophies with
Maija Lepins here 

ARRIVE: 9.30 for a 10am start, DURATION: 2hrs
Book here
CRECHE: 10am – 12 noon


Border Controls

BORDER CONTROLS
Rosalind Davis and Justin Hibbs
The Sevenoaks Kaleidoscope Gallery, Buckhurst Lane Sevenoaks, TN13 1LQ 

 
Special Event:
Saturday 24 November 2.30-4.30pm.
Artists in conversation with Sasha Bowles. Talk begins at 3pm. Free

Read an exhibition review by David Minton here 
Excerpt: As an infectious notion of composing takes shape, we are both empowered and constrained by the frame to choose and compose, reject and move on. Looking from the ‘other’ open end of the piece, the ‘back’, alter-ego to the mirrored surface, is softer in black and grey, pulling, as it were, its mirrored side out to escape to a freer space; ground, welded corners and workplace matter-of-factness of steel subvert any illusions that the reflections might harbour of what might be real….

Sensibilities and sensitivities inhabit touch and mark, eye and concept, point and counterpoint. Inferences resonate knowingly through the works here in a to-ing and fro-ing of aesthetic positions.
The implicit notion of taste that infuses this show offers hints and tints of suggestion, of control and direction, the collaboration dance-like, leading and following, point and counterpoint…..

Exhibition: 6-24 November 2018 
Opening times: Monday to Friday (except Thursday) 9-6pm | Thursday: 9- 8pm | Saturday: 9-5pm 
Only 35 minutes from Charing Cross, 27 minutes from London Bridge with frequent trains. 

Border Controls - Rosalind Davis Justin Hibbs

Border Controls – Rosalind Davis Justin Hibbs

Border Controls is an exhibition considered within the shadow of increasingly restricted borders and political controls with regard to migration and the increasing isolationism seen both here in the UK (with Brexit) as well as the wider geographical tensions seen currently in Europe and America. The collaboration between Davis and Hibbs see’s the artists’ consciously inhabiting the thresholds and boundaries between their respective practices in an attempt to openup conversation and discourse around these issues. The personal and political dimensions of art-making and authorship are seen here as a lens through which to consider wider social concerns and questions that address the dynamics of power, autonomy and control.

For their exhibition at Kaleidoscope Gallery, Davis and Hibbs will show the piece ‘Border Controls’– a large scale  sculptural installation that brings together different aspects of both artists practice into direct dialogue with one another, creating a single collaborative work. Alongside this the artists will also exhibita number of individual artworks that extend this conversation. Within the parameters of the gallery neither artists work can be negotiated without experiencing reflections of the other within them. Physical borders cross, overlap, fluctuate and collapse within an installation which transforms, dematerialises and disorients our understanding of space.

Border Controls - Rosalind Davis Justin Hibbs

Border Controls – Rosalind Davis Justin Hibbs

Davis and Hibbs have collaborated informally for years; over shared thematic concerns, overlapping research interests and an ongoing ‘conversation’ around one another’s practices and curatorial projects. Both have independent careers but also are a couple who share a studio, where inevitable questions arise about how and where to set boundaries.

‘Artistic production is nodal, networked, and a perpetually unfinished project, things nudging each other, domino effects transpiring. The real-world analogue of this is that in an artist’s studio, it’s always a transitional moment: the detached artwork as standalone statement is a falsity, a piece of theatre. In reality, one thing leads to another, all kinds of ambient forces shaping what’s made’(Martin Herbert).

The artists individual practices share common references to the social, political and aesthetic agendas encoded within architectural structures and in different ways renegotiate the visual and ideological legacies of modernism to probe both real and idealised notions of space. They create structures where interpretation and the reading of context is contingent on the audiences’ individual and relational responses.

“Davis’ sculptural interventions have an ability to change composition in a circular narrative portraying how we move through space while adapting to the structures and how we adapt structure to the way we move through space.’  (Jillian Knipe. Wall Street International).There is an ongoing negotiation between our perspective of being external to the structure and our bodily experience of interacting with it.

Hibbs’ site-specific installations, sculptures and wall drawings re-map the relationships between architecture, spatial perception and it’s representation across different formats. With a sense of constantly shifting perspectives the work plays off the spatial illusionism of the image with the structural language of three-dimensional construction processes.

#Bordercontrols
Web: www.rosalinddavis.co.uk | www.svaf.co.uk 

Instagram: @rosalindnldavis | @justinjhibbs | @sevenoakskaleidoscope
Twitter: @rosalinddavis | @Justinjhibbs | @KaleidoscopGa

Artists biogs here. 

 

We will be hosting a talk with Rosalind during our next show with Jordy Kerwick, which you can find out more about HERE


Hayden Kays Interview

Hayden Kays has an upcoming solo show with our friends theprintspace, the private view opens at 6:30pm on Thursday the 8th of November, so we thought we’d catch up with him and ask him a few questions about the show.

Hayden Kays - Complete Kunst Show

Hayden Kays – Complete Kunst Show Flyer


Will this be a show of new works, or have we seen some of them before?

‘Complete Kunst Show’ is a collection of new and older works, a lot of which have never been committed to print before. It’s the perfect place to buy a little something for someone you don’t like that much.

You court controversy in a lot of your work, what is it about this close-to-the-wire work that interests you?

I’m frequently accused of being controversial and I just don’t think I am. I think life is fucking controversial, half the world if starving to death, while the other half is stuffing their faces. We are able to pipe oil out of and around the globe at breakneck speed, but we’re not capable of piping clean drinking water to everyone. Life is controversial.

Hayden Kays - Complete Kunst Show

Can’t See The Forest For The Corporate Disease

Have you ever had any negative responses to your work, and what has this taught you about yourself and your work?

I’ve had every kind of response to my work. I find the praise often more uncomfortable than the criticism. If I’m talking to someone and they say they love my work, I say ‘thanks’ and that’s usually the end of it. It’s difficult to build up on love. If someone says they think ‘it’s fucking shit’, now we’re starting at such a low foundation the only way is up. It’s hard to get worse than ‘fucking shit’.
How much control do you think artists have over how their work is received?
No control, or very little at the most. I’ve got a pretty good grasp on the potential baggage people are bringing with them when viewing my work, I try to flick and prod different areas of the baggage. This said, everyone is packed totally uniquely so as an artist i’m only ever making assumptions about potential responses.
Often the work i’m most pleased with falls flat and the flippant work is praised. There’s no rhyme or reason and that’s the reason I love it.
Hayden Kays - Complete Kunst Show

The Land Has Had Its Fill

Why do you do it, are you trying to change the world?
I’m not deluded enough to think I can change the world. I’m only able to change my world.
Art can open doors, Art can really move you, Art has got me here, Art gets me going, I believe in Art, it’s just sceptical of me.
If you were to be remembered for one thing, what would you like that one thing to be?
That I wasn’t concerned with being remembered.
Whats the most valuable thing you’ve ever stolen?
Hearts.
Hayden Kays’s Complete Kunst Show runs until the 12th of November at theprintspace – 74 Kingsland Road E28DL
See more of Hayden Kays work HERE

Santiago Sierra – The Strangeness of Reality

Santiago Sierra is a Spanish artist who creates works that are seemingly morally bankrupt, and that initially inspire revulsion in the minds of most.  The pointless menial labor of marginalised members of society is what Sierra uses as the raw materials with which to create his works, and it is this that people find the most distressing.

Previous works have included: paying illegal immigrants to sit under boxes in galleries for hours at a time; bricking a gallery worker inside a room for 10 days; and covering 10 Iraqis in hardening foam.

 Santiago Sierra - The Strangeness of Reality

 

In one work 160cm Line Tattooed Four People– four prostitutes are paid in the price of a shot heroin, to have a line tattooed on their backs. The line is thin and straight, and spans the entire width of the back of one, continuing across all six. Thetattoo machine needle echoes the needle through which the nominal amount of heroin will be administered, and the tattoo speaks of the permanency of the tattoo in contrast to the immediate and short-lived effects of the heroin.

 

In this work,the women involved have made a conscious choice to accept the tattoo for the recompense offered. The decision is theirs alone, yet to the viewer this is unarguably exploitative and insensitive. Heroin addiction is tragic in its banality, and this is something that Sierra exposes through his exploitation of these women, in an equally banal and tragic way.

For the individual women tattooed, this work is clearly exploitative and unethical, but — if by its execution the needs and struggles of the chemically dependent are exposed to a wider audience, then the work can serve some positive purpose. This work may serve society on the whole, as through its utter depravity it may encourage people to offer help to those affected by addiction in a similar way.

 

The problem here lies with a society that allows these people to become so desperate that they are willing to go to such lengths. Sierra himself explained the work saying:

 

“The tattoo is not the problem. The problem is the existence of social conditions that allow me to make this work.”

 

This exploitation of individuals in order to serve society on the whole is unpalatable, but it is this unpalatability that affects us so profoundly, thus creating a real empathy that would be unachievable through the use of mere statistics. The exploitation of a few to serve the greater good may be ethically ambiguous, but it is something that happens all across society and all throughout history, to varying degrees of severity.

 

The revulsion that these works create in the viewer can be incredibly powerful in the fight against social injustice. Sierra’s works expose exploitation that is already there, even inside the institutions in which he shows his work. Sierra may pay someone minimum wage to sit in a gallery for four hours per day, but just down the corridor a security guard is paid the same amount to stand for often longer amounts of time.

In many ways, his work is the antithesis of Maria Eichhorn’s most recent work 5 Weeks, 25 Days, 175 Hours; in which she spent the budget for the show on closing the gallery and paying the staff to take the full duration of the show off work.

 

By highlighting these issues in the way that he does, Sierra stuns the viewer into action like the shock of cold water, and through this we are compelled to alter these types of situations in our own lives. His works afford the subjects a physicality that promotes much more intense feelings of empathy than can be created by plain numbers, seen upon a white page.

 

This works in much the same way as the documentation of war by photographers such as Don Mccullin. In a way, war photography is exploitative of those depicted dying and desolate, but the way in which these horrors are documented can promote viewers to help is incalculable. In this sense, the ends more than justify the means.

 

The exploitation of marginalised workers isn’t something that often makes headlines; it is the type of issue that is easy to sweep under the rug, and one that isnt likely to sell many newspapers. Those who are being exploited are often fearful or unable to stand up for themselves, and if they do, they risk losing their only source of income.

 

As a society we are programmed to exploit, always seeking the most high-quality product or service for the lowest price. Phrases such as ‘bargainand ‘great valuesuggest a victory for the consumer at the expense of the producer. Commerce and the payment for services is not an altruistic system, it is predicated on cynicism and exploitation. Menial wage exploitation isn’t a bold or particularly visible form of injustice, and it will never garner headlines like racism, sexism, or homophobia. By creating his works, Sierra is fore-fronting these issues and making them unavoidable; we are unable to ignore such horror, and therein lies the beauty of his works. There is no stronger way of compelling help from those who are able to give it, than by exposing to them their silent complicity in the injustice that they are so repulsed by.

 

Through inaction and acquiescence, we are all complicit in certain forms of exploitation; from the cheaply made items we consume and dispose of; to the sweatshop-made fashion we buy. We are constantly looking for the best deal: the highest quality with the cheapest price. This frugality when misdirected can fuel the exploitation machine, it pushes prices for products and services lower, and as a direct consequence it is the disadvantaged that suffer the greatest losses.

Santiago Sierra - The Strangeness of Reality 

Things (especially art) take their meaning from the viewers cache of similar past experience. The viewer attains their perspective by evaluating their feelings and understandings, seen through the prism of memory and how similar events have affected them.

If the positions of the artists ethical sensibilities, or the way those are portrayed are too obvious, the viewer reads the work as propaganda and becomes automatically and subconsciously defensive; or worse, dismissive. Art created didactically is better described as an applied art, or a piece of design, rather than true art — an idea summed up accurately by Gilda Williams:“If an artwork’s message is self-evident, maybe it’s just an illustration, a decorative non-entity, a well executed craft object, hardly counting as ‘significantart at all.

 

This means that meaning and intent on the part of the artist must be vague, so as to be absorbed neutrally and thus ruminated upon by the viewer. The viewer can then decide through further consideration the ethical or philosophical undertones to the work, and can feel as if they have discovered them independently. This is the best way to convey ideas through art and produce real change. It leaves the decisions up to the viewer, and the gratification they receive when they feel like they have understood, or elucidated meaning from a work is profound.

 

Upon entering a gallery, the viewer is somewhat unguarded when it comes to political discourse, and is thus more easily affected. Certain media outlets, orators, and publications for example can be dismissed before they have had a chance to convey any information due to the viewers preconceptions about their bias, validity, or trustworthiness. This is less frequent in an art gallery however, which it is why the gallery setting is the perfect arena for information dissemination and discussion. The very act of placing an item or situation into a gallery setting opens it up to a level of scrutiny that the complexity of normal life suppresses.

 

  What makes Sierras work all the more powerful is that it isnt some grandiose attempt to topple governments or promote revolution; it simply shows how people can affect change in a very real and tangible way. The change Sierra is suggesting is the rejection of a system that isnt working, and he is showing us exactly how to go about forcing that change. Upon seeing his work I cannot imagine any viewer not reevaluating how they see cheap labor, and changing their actions towards those less fortunate.

 

To borrow a phrase from Eugène Ionesco – “To tear ourselves away from the everyday, from habit, from mental laziness which hides from us the strangeness of reality, we must receive something like a real bludgeon blow.”

 

Benjamin Murphy

Originally published in AfterNyne Magazine.

 

For more about Santiago Sierra’s work, head over to Lisson Gallery.

 

What do you think about Santiago Sierra’s controversial works? Let us know in the comments below.


Jordy Kerwick Announcement

We are very excited to announce that we will be hosting Jordy Kerwick’s first ever UK solo show this December!

More info will be released soon, but if you would like to register your interest in purchasing a painting or print, please email info@delphiangallery.com

Jordy Kerwick

Jordy Kerwick

For more works like the one above, check out his work HERE, and to learn more about his amazing work go HERE


Arrested Motion Interview

We were  recently interviewed by art historian Hector Campbell for Arrested Motionwho recently sat down with our co-founder Benjamin Murphy, to discuss the history of the gallery, our own unique approach to curation, our inaugural Open Call exhibition, and the upcoming exhibition with Florence Hutchings, Seating Arrangement.

Hector Campbell (HC): Delphian Gallery has existed in one manifestation or another since 2013’s ‘Group Collective are Kunsts’ exhibition, could you explain how the gallery first came about? And how it has subsequently evolved into its current model?

Benjamin Murphy (BM): My co-director (photographer Nick JS Thompson) and I have been working together for a number of years after we met when he wrote an article about me in a magazine he used to manage. I went on to write for the magazine, and we both started co-curating one another’s shows. We both developed a deep love of, and interest in, the art of curation, and so decided to curate our first show in my old studio. It has been a real labour of love for us, which has built gradually into what Delphian is now – a peripatetic style gallery that takes the championing of exciting, emerging art as its key aim.

HC: Delphian, meaning ‘Obscurely Prophetic,’ derives from the Greek mythological oracle at Delphi. What was the rationale behind choosing ‘Delphian’, and how does it’s meaning underpin the gallery’s vision?

BM: Well firstly, we wanted something that was Googleable, as well as something less vapid than just both of our surnames. We decided upon Delphian because it is vague enough to not be too constrictive in what we can show, as well as being something with its own character. “Obscurely Prophetic” is, in a concise two-word phrase, one which we believe all the best art accomplishes. We believe that the most successful and thought-provoking work is informative, but in a non-didactic way.

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Delphian Team – Directors Benjamin Murphy & Nick JS Thompson, and Curator Wingshan Smith

HC: As an artist-run gallery, what advantages or insights does this offer you, as opposed to more traditional gallerist or art dealers?

BM: I think we understand the position of the artist more than a lot of gallerists or curators do, as we are both artists in our own right. This gives us a unique insight into both sides of the coin in terms of how a show is put together and run, from the artwork production point, up until the curation of a show and the sale of an artwork.

As well as this, we try to curate cohesive shows that could be read as a single artwork in their own right. The way we curate is quite experimental, as we believe there is nothing less interesting (or damaging to the artworks themselves), as a show in which all of the artworks are hung at eye-level around the gallery. These types of shows often encourage people to stand in the middle of the room and just rotate themselves 360 degrees, they leave feeling like they have seen all of the artworks – when of course they often haven’t. We want to curate shows that are essentially immersive artworks in themselves, that are ethereal and only exist in the moment, until the heterogeneous works are divided up again and are either sold or sent back to the artists. We believe that curation is an art form in itself, and it is this philosophy which guides how we curate.

HC: Previous exhibitions have included photographers Aaron McElroy and Carson Lancaster, and more recently contemporary painters such as Bertrand Fournier and Kevin Perkins. Does this range of artists and mediums reflect your personal interests? And how do you select which artists to exhibit?

BM: We try to show a diverse range of works that are entirely unique, whilst highlighting possible underlying connections or similarities, as well as playing with ways in which differing styles contrast. We spend a lot of time going to shows, as well as countless hours on social media, scrolling through things like Instagram looking for new talent. We also run a separate Instagram account called @Daily_Contemporary_Art, which is great for discovering new artists. Every week a new artist has control of the account and shares their favourite living artists, and we find that it is often the student artists that share the most exciting work.

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Kevin Perkins

HC: You also had your most recent solo exhibition, Lavish Entropy, at the gallery earlier this year. How did this experience compare to your previous shows, acting as not only the artist but also the gallerist/curator?

BM: It was great, I often take a quite hands-on approach to the curation of my own shows anyway (often aided by Nick), so in that sense, this was no different. I’d recommend every artist do this at least once in your career, as when you have full creative control over something you can be as wild and as experimental as you like without anyone trying to curtail your vision. Don’t get me wrong – the curatorial teams at galleries are often incredibly helpful and teach me things about my own work that I wouldn’t have realised otherwise, but it can be incredibly freeing having absolutely no constraints sometimes. This kind of thing is great, and you are able to take bigger risks than usual, and this teaches you what does and doesn’t work in a way that you wouldn’t have been able to see without this freedom.

HC: This year the gallery ran your inaugural Open Call submission exhibition, why did you want to undertake this competition? And what did you learn from this first iteration?

BM: It was so great, and through it we discovered so much great art we wouldn’t have done if it weren’t for the open call. We wanted to make it as easy as possible to submit, so as to get the most submissions possible. We didn’t charge for entry, and our good friends at theprintspace printed and mounted it all for us, so there was no cost to the artists. This also meant that, as the artists only had to send us a jpeg, artists from all over the world could submit and not have to worry about shipping or insuring their work. We received over 8000 submissions in total and were awestruck by the diversity of it. There are many artists who we would have loved to have included but couldn’t because of size and space constraints. As well as Florence Hutchings, another of our favourite artists Bertrand Fournier entered, whom we hope to present a solo show with next year.

HC: For your latest exhibition, Florence Hutchings, who won the aforementioned Open Call competition, presents her debut solo show, Seating Arrangements. How important is it for you to champion young artists such as Florence?

BM: Florence is great, she has done so incredibly well at such a young age and yet still doesn’t really seem phased by it all. She is very down-to-earth, which is nice to see from someone who is already reaching levels of success that most artists can only dream of.

We aim to discover and support young, emerging artists because we feel this is where the most exciting and unique work is coming from. We are in a position to be able to help out the careers of these young artists like people did for us when we first started showing, so it is incredibly rewarding in that respect.

We get to nurture this often raw and unbridled talent early on in an artist’s career, and look forward to the time when artists like Florence outgrow us and sign with Gagosian – for it will happen, especially in her case.

 

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