Untitled Document
 

David Dellagi Inner Beauty

No Format Contemporary Visual Art Gallery
Private View 27 August 2015 6 – 9 pm


Adam Fenton’s Painting Club is pleased to present an exhibition of new paintings by
David Dellagi. On view at No Format Contemporary Visual Art Gallery in London,
it marks the artist’s first solo presentation in the city.

Inner Beauty includes large-scale paintings that feature inner organs projected out of
the body and into industrial landscapes, architecture, vehicles and interacting or
interfused with animals. These seemingly violent juxtapositions are blended together
by a mastery of form recalling classical painting techniques - full volume forms resulting
from the exquisite tonal graduation between light and dark and the finely tuned
brushwork displaying an intensity of color, evoking the aesthetics of technicolor
cinema. The paintings are not only macabre but also display a dark humor stemming
from the absurdity of the motives; a giant kidney growing out of an estate building,
intestines protruding from a huge painting in a museum and towering over a group of
spectators, a biomechanical cow in a Martian landscape. Thus, we are confronted with
narratives and imagery that question the nature of reality, the body and the mind
through the use of humor, paradoxes and puns.

Dellagi emulates the style of vintage science- and natural history textbook illustration
of the 1950’s and 1960’s. Generally considered an anonymous, industrialized
product, this illustration style is characterized by a fascinating retro look and an
artificiality in its depiction of an idealized world that lends itself perfectly to the artist’s
aim of subverting it to tell more disturbing narratives.

The narrative format being explored is that of the condensed narrative, very much
related to the genre of the single panel cartoon, and characterized by some
unexpected element that somehow disturbs the inherent logic of the narrative, and
points towards madness and the irrational. It is worth noting the acknowledged
relation between the work of Dellagi and that of Roland Topor. While dissimilar in
technical terms, there are striking similarities in the choice of narrative format and
general philosophy of letting loose the monsters of the Id, radically setting both these
artists apart from other artists who seem to be using the condensed narrative format
for politically correct or moral aims.

The connections to Surrealism and the Surrealist method of juxtaposing elements that
seem unlikely to merge are obvious and underlined by Dellagi’s use of collage as a
departure point in the construction of his works. However, there is another strong
undercurrent at work, namely that of the allusions to body horror. These allusions are
apparent in the exhibition’s theme of the radical extension of the mind into the
physical terrain of the flesh and the landscape, the title Inner Beauty even taking a
cue from a quote by renowned film auteur and body horror pioneer David
Cronenberg, commenting on the aesthetic qualities of the insides of our bodies. The
very fleshy and visceral existentialism of Cronenberg’s films is carried through in
Dellagi’s work as is the kind of extreme metaphor inherent in metaphors connected to
body imagery in general and specifically to bodily transformations.

By incorporating these different impulses and combining them with the use of smooth
surfaces so reminiscent of Pop Art, Dellagi points to new and forceful modes of
expression in painting.

Dellagi will also present a suite of new collages, that interweave figurative and
constructivist elements.  Although small in size, the collages take on epic themes
such as the cosmos, childhood, eros and death, the collage elements being utilized
with virtuosity and discipline.

The exhibition is curated by Adam Fenton.

 

David Dellagi was born in 1970, in Copenhagen, Denmark. He lives and works in
London, UK.

He was an apprentice of the artist Evgenii Brukman from 1989-92 and received his BA
in Film Science and Art History in 2001 from The University of Copenhagen, DK.
Dellagi’s practice includes painting, collage, sculpture, drawing, print and film. His stop-
motion and marionette puppet short films have been shown at various film festivals.
He has exhibited widely in his native country Denmark as well as internationally, in
New York, Los Angeles, Mexico City, Stockholm and London. Recent solo exhibitions
include Carnivore, The Danish Graphics Association, Copenhagen, 2013, The
Umbilical Eye, Marie Kirkegaard Gallery, Copenhagen, 2012 and Insanitorium, Galleri
Christoffer Egelund, Copenhagen, 2012. Recent group exhibitions include After
Surrealism, shown at various art halls and museums around DK, 2013-14, Reality
Hype Phase II: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Reality, Sct Hans Kapel, Roskilde, 2015 and
Reality Hype Phase I: Mr Banks Has a Mental Breakdown, DIG, London, 2014. Inner
Beauty marks his first solo presentation in the UK.

 

No Format Gallery,  Second Floor Studios & Arts, Harrington Way, Woolwich, London SE18 5NR