Articles Tagged with: delphian magazine

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

Lucas Price – Body Body

Lucas Price is currently exhibiting as part of the inaugural Bangkok Art Bienalle until Feb 2019, with the video work Body Body. 
We decided to catch up with him and discuss the emotive, and brutally honest work.
Lucas Price - Body Body

Lucas Price – Body Body

Can you please explain a little about what the video is about, and how you came to make it?
The video is a long series of screen tests of people who at the time of recording were immigrants in Thailand. I was recovering from a stay at a temple, where I had gone to detox from heroin. I felt that my body was under attack, from itself in a way, had been colonised by this thing. So I was thinking about that and the various ways people’s bodies are prone to pressure. I began by recording my drug dealer, then moved outward and began to record his friends, their peers, tourists, diplomats etc. I wanted to make something about my relationship to Bangkok, and it ended up being about being an outsider. So, it’s about that and moving through the world and how the body is coming and going in amongst all of this.
Body Body is obviously an incredibly personal project for you, how have you reconciled making the private public, and how did you decide what to include and what to omit?
I really feel that its a universal set of principles I’m trying to sort out. Like we all have to abide inside of our bodies. And we’re all trying to keep the show on the road. There are personal references, but I think it’s worth being honest if it means that somehow it allows for more of the same? That’s certainly my experience. Other people’s honesty makes room for my own. I don’t know if this works in the same way but it’s partly the intention.
Who are the people in the video, and how much has been explained to them about the project before filming?
The people in the film were…everyone was street cast. I made a studio in the back of a truck which I drove around Bangkok for a week. We went to slums on the outskirts, the hi so areas, the red light district, chinatown. Suburbs, tourist traps, immigration centres. Everyone was made aware that the film was a simple series of portraits, to be screened in a gallery. It was very ad-hoc but everyone was made aware of the nature of the project and I had consent throughout. The most interesting and eager to participate were the african sex workers, who at the time were under an enormous amount of pressure as the result of a crackdown by the Thai police called operation Black Eagle. They were rounded up every couple of nights and extorted or intimidated, squeezed for cash and then ultimately deported or sent to immigration centres on the way to being deported. I think they were the limit expression of that idea of being placed under extreme amounts of pressure.
There are a lot of mentions of the sea and drowning – both in a sinister, foreboding way, but also in a cleansing and regenerating way. What is the significance of water within this particular piece?
The sea…idk, it’s just a good place to be. A large body. It unified a lot of the experiences I have of travelling and being dislocated. It’s also…I was thinking about this idea of experience and awareness, of waves being parts of a whole thing..the wave is not the ocean, the ocean contains all the waves. Also shout out to The Waves by Virginia Woolf.
Do you see this work as being redemptive in any way, or is it a cathartic experience revealing such personal details?
I think the details aren’t so important as maybe trying to be honest and even earnest? I mean I’m cynical, and I don’t know whether the film is successful in any meaningful way…at least in the way I originally intended, but if I think about what is at stake, for me it’s certainly about being honest…like congruous or something.

It’s not about redemption, as much as making sense post meltdown. And whatever works in those conditions right? I’ve chastised myself for including my own stuff in my work in the past but…it’s like Nan Goldin or Brad Phillips. I like that honesty, it’s healing.

 

 

Check out his Instagram HERE

 

 

(Interview by Benjamin Murphy)

FOR MORE INTERVIEWS, CHECK OUT:

JORDY KERWICK

HAYDEN KAYS

KLAUS BUSCH RISVIG

 


Tracey Emin – A Fortnight Of Tears

Tracey Emin – A Fortnight Of Tears

Chronicling the most recent developments in Tracey Emin’s practice, ‘A Fortnight of Tears’ opens at White Cube Bermondsey in February 2019.

This major exhibition spans the entire gallery and brings together new painting, photography, large-scale sculpture, film and neon text, all stemming from the artist’s deeply personal memories and emotions ranging from loss, grief, longing and spiritual love.

Three monumental, bronze sculptural figures, the largest Emin has produced to date, are shown alongside her lyrical and expressive paintings. Developed through a process of drawing, the paintings are then intensely reworked and added to, layer upon layer.

Tracey Emin - A Fortnight Of Tears

Tracey Emin – A Fortnight Of Tears

White Cube also debuts a new photographic series by Emin titled ‘Insomnia’. Selected from thousands of self-portraits taken by the artist on her iPhone over the last couple of years, these images spontaneously capture prolonged periods of restlessness and inner turmoil.

Filmmaking has been an integral part of Emin’s career for over 20 years. To mark this, the artist will show a new film as well as the key early work How It Feels (1996), a candid and moving account of her abortions that changed her whole approach to making art.

 

For more great art exhibitions on right now, see this review of Chris Burden at Gagosian by Benjamin Murphy HERE

For more about Tracey Emin, see the White Cube website HERE


Guest Column – Nicholas Burns

Inside the Bug Jar By Nicholas Burns

Nicholas Burns

I
In a jar full of bugs,
I am agitated. On display
My actions and motives are questioned by
Leering eyes.
Waiting for the chance to dissect me and use me.
Abuse me and isolate my weaknesses
I must be deft and dexterous
Flexible and malleable
Able to adapt and function in all environments
My design must be flawless and innovative
Cohesive, yet groundbreaking

Eliminate the excess.
Don’t be the freak.

Tweak it.
Perfect it.
Make it the best.

Because no one remembers those who live in mediocrity.
The worker bees serve an elegant purpose.
Committed to one another as
A unit.
A family
Aiming to produce the best. The sweetest.

Don’t make a mistake because you must remember

Everyone is watching

II
In a room full of mirrors,
I see a thousand mistakes.
Changes I need to make
We need to make

I’ve said too much
I’ve seen too much
Yet not enough
Still looking for myself
In a world of constant change and
Scrutiny,
Controversy,
And Competition
I am under the microscope

I’m reinventing myself
I’ll dye my hair
Blue and orange, green and gray
Then black
I’m every color
Then no color at all

I’m reinventing myself
I’ll dress the best
Maintain a look of confidence
Even though I’m frightened and ashamed
I’ll spritz that dark rum scent
Scent like sex
Yet my airs produce miasmic odors
An attractor and repellent

What do I need to do to see this through?
I want to fix the world but I can’t seem to fix myself

I need a shortcut
A pointer
A guide

If only these mirrors could talk

III
In a puzzle with infinite pieces
I am in need of fresh air
But at least I’m finding grounding
In the lack of control

What started a storm with no foreseeable end
I am now in its eye
I am calm
The storm still persists, still rages
But I have a damn good umbrella

Like the bees, I’m still at work
Still dressed the best
I spritz my chest
To keep the lingering smell
That became my attractor

Yet now I discard this idea of supremacy
Perfection, a silly structure
A hierarchical mirage
I prefer to be the freak
To take my position in left field

I want to build something beautiful
But I sometimes forget the recipe
I am the baker and the chef,
But deft I am not

I’m making a mess, and it’s getting everywhere
And that’s fine with me
Food fights are fun
Spontaneous
Collaborative
Colorful

Perfection is a mirage
And in the desert of opportunities
I’ll save my energy for fruitful excursions
That mirage will always disappear

And that’s fine with me.

 

 

 

Studio Art Alumni:
Inside the Bug Jar
Jan 22 – Feb 22, 2019
Artist Reception: Feb 7, 4-7pm

 

Nicholas Burns – WEBSITE

 

For more guest columns, check out Andrew Salgado’s essay about the work of Benjamin Murphy HERE