Articles Tagged with: delphian gallery

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


Hector Campbell Interview

Curator and art historian Hector Campbell has curated a brilliant show of all student or recent-graduate painters, which opens in London on the 22nd of November. We decided to catch-up with him to find out a little about the show.

Firstly, could you please tell the readers a little about your background?

I recently moved to London, having lived in Bristol for the last six years. I studied History of Art at Bristol University, which was a great course and allowed me to participate in curatorial projects with their print and theatre collections. However, as with many university courses, the actual contact hours were relatively few (around 4 or 5 hours of lectures a week) so I had plenty of time to get involved in some exciting projects that the thriving Bristol art scene had to offer. Having been interested in Street Art and Graffiti since my teenage years, I was lucky enough to get work with many artists whose work I had been a fan of for over a decade. During my time in Bristol I worked alongside author and curate Ed Bartlett to compile travel publisher Lonely Planet’s first ‘Street Art’ guidebook, organised the UK premiere of documentary Saving Banksy complete with live painting from Blek le Rat and others, and worked for Fluorescent Smogg, a gallery and production house doing some of the best work in Street Art/Graffiti scene.

In the last couple of years I found myself coming to London more and more frequently for events and exhibitions (quite often seeing 20 exhibitions a day to try and fit in as many as possible), so it felt about the right time to move to London and see what opportunities it had to offer, and so far it’s been incredibly rewarding.

 

There are some really exciting young painters coming up at the moment, can you tell me a little bit about some of the artists you’ve discovered and how you found their work? 

I think it’s a very exciting time for painting, especially in London. With a large proportion of post- YBA generation artists turning to sculpture, video and installation in the 00’s, it’s only recently that I’ve noticed a big return to painting, especially amongst student and young artists.

I was overwhelmed by the response from the artists I approached about this exhibition, and the line-up is something I could only have dreamed about when I started planning this show a few months ago. Many of the artists I discovered at degree shows; Elisa Carutti and Minyoung Choi both showed incredible bodies of work in the Slade School of Fine Art’s MA show, and Marco Piemonte I found hidden down a long corridor during Chelsea College of Art’s MA show. I first saw Jonathan Kelly’s work in the 2017 Royal Academy Schools show, and have been a fan of his since then. India Nielsen’s work I had seen on Instagram (a brilliant resource for anyone involved in art, and where I daily find new artists that I love), and was excited to see it in person at the Royal College of Art degree show earlier this year. A friend of mine at Edinburgh University recommended Emily Herring’s work to me a while ago, and when she moved back to London after graduating I made sure to check it out. Finally, I first saw Lydia Blakeley and Rhiannon Salisbury’s work in small group exhibitions, Lydia’s at Enclave Projects in Deptford and Rhiannon’s at the Turps Painting Leavers Show at Paul Stolper Gallery.

Hector Campbell - Jonathan Kelly

Jonathan Kelly



Why did you decide to curate a show of exclusively students and recent graduates?

I started going to some of the big degree shows a few years ago, after realising they were great places to see work by emerging artists, and having not realised before that they were open to the public. This year I made a concerted effort to go to as many as possible, and I found that it was always the paintings that I was drawn to most. As a member of the public going to look around a degree show, you often have minimal resources available to you, the name of the works, and occasional artist statement if you’re lucky. You’re therefore left to take the works largely on aesthetic value, and while I’m sure much of the more experimental video, sculpture and installations on show are fascinating once being conceptualised to the professors in the critique, painting is accessible without that level of description or explanation.

Admission Productions, who are presenting the exhibition, have taken a chance on me as an emerging curator, so I thought it only right to continue that trend and show the work of some of my favourite student and graduate artists.

Did you have a particular feel in mind for the show and have you selected the individual works that the artists are putting in, or have you allowed them to submit whatever they choose? 

The exhibition space, Arthill Gallery in West Brompton, is beautiful and has partition walls creating lots of hanging space. I’ve therefore asked each artist to submit one or two larger works, as I think it’s rare that emerging artists get the chance to show works of this size, especially in a group exhibition. Each artist will almost get their own space within the gallery for these larger paintings. Then there is a long back wall at the gallery where I plan to do a salon hang of smaller works, with each artists giving us two small paintings, and that’s where I plan to draw out the relationships between the artists and the individual works and hopefully find some common themes. I’m not having a big say in the individual works, as excitingly the majority of the artists are making new paintings for this exhibition.

Hector Campbell - Rhiannon Salisbury

Rhiannon Salisbury



How does your role as an art historian inform your role as a curator, and vice versa?

I think that my background in Art History has allowed me to develop a certain level of connoisseurship, having been taught the skills of visual analysis and the importance of looking, alongside the purely historical studies that I’ve done. I hope that this allows me to select artists who not only I love, but that the public will love as well.

On the flip side, I think curating informs my practice as an art historian as there’s no substitute for the practical application of staging an exhibition. The problems and issues you encounter and overcome during that process, therefore, gives me a greater understanding of the history of exhibitions and curatorial practice as a whole.

If you would like to see more of the works in the show, Hector will be doing a week-long takeover on our sister account @Daily_Contemporary_Art from the 19th.

Young London Painters opens on the 22nd of November at Arthill Gallery, North End Road, West Brompton, W14 9NU.

Private view: 22/11/18 7-10pm

Show run: 23+24th of November 10am-5pm.

Hector Campbell recently interviewed us for Arrested Motion, which can be read HERE

Hector Campbell


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

Diary of an Introvert – Jordy Kerwick

We are proud to present ‘Diary of an Introvert’ by Jordy Kerwick (b. 1982). This will be Kerwick’s debut UK solo show.
With a substantial Instagram following, he is part of a new generation of internationally renowned artists who attribute part of their success to connecting, sharing, and selling online.
 
diary of an introvert - jordy kerwick
His work draws on the contours of organic forms in domestic settings. Texture and colour inhabit his canvas, often centred on a potted plant. Sometimes traces of human life present themselves in way of an abandoned cigarette or a pile of books, their titles written playfully on their spines almost as if conversing with the viewer. The artist utilises a decisive use of impasto paint in blocks of colour combined with anarchic references to drugs, punk, and the odd romantic poet or philosopher. Kerwick’s paintings go beyond simply beautiful subject matter to reveal deeply personal stories like an inside joke.
 
We will be showing Kerwick‘s latest body of work of original paintings, as well as releasing his first ever limited edition prints.
Join us for the private view  on Thursday the 6th December from 6-9pm
Exhibition then runs 7th – 16th December.
For more information about Diary of an Introvert, and to see some behind-the-scenes images, please join us in the Facebook event HERE
To register your interest in purchasing available works, please email us 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.