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The Factory Project: Delphian Gallery - FAD Magazine

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The Factory Project: Delphian Gallery

Delphian Gallery curators Nick JS Thompson and Benjamin Murphy

Opening this October in a 67,000 sqft industrial space The Factory Project promises to be one of the highlights of Frieze week. Over the coming weeks, FAD is talking to all ten curatorial teams taking part in the museum scale exhibition. Below we have Delphian Gallery

Can you tell us about your curatorial practice?

We’re just a couple of friends who accidentally became curators. We never studied curation, dreamt of being curators, or had any big plans when we started bringing artists together to share their work. It’s snowballed out of control from very humble beginnings, from doing a show in a Whitechapel basement a few years ago to having our own semi-permanent space in Covent Garden this summer. We like to not be too tied down to any one thing though, so once our time in this current space is up we will go back to the nomadic model and start exploring some other avenues that we find exciting, including a South-of-France Delphian residency coming in 2022.

Can you tell us a bit about the exhibition you will be presenting at The Factory Project?

Most of the artists we have invited are artists that make large works that we’ve never had the space to show before. With the odd exception, they are all new to Delphian Gallery, and so it’s exciting to be working with some new faces alongside some more familiar. A few of the artists we had in mind to invite are already involved in the project with other galleries, and so it’s nice that there will clearly be some synchronicities of approach across all the galleries, as well as each one bringing something unique to the table.

Jukka Virkkunen Cloth Outdoor installation in Notting Hill 2020

Which artists have you invited to take part in your section of The Factory Project and why have you chosen them?

So far the list includes Jukka Virkkunen, Emmely Ergasma, and Ant Hamlyn and a few others that we’ll leave as a surprise for now. All make very different work which for us was key for this show. As there is so much space (it’s literally probably the biggest room we’ve ever been in) there is space for the works to not have to perfectly blend into one, and so the differences between them will create interesting dialogues between the works.

Ant-Hamlyn-B-L-O-O-M-2020-
Ant Hamlyn B-L-O-O-M 2020

4 How do you feel about the hijack of the word curator by editors, stylists, DJs, z list celebs, a-list celebs, tv personalities & influencers?

All words are context-dependent and so anyone can use whatever words they like to describe what they do – it doesn’t take away from how someone else might use that word. Some purists might even say that it is us hijacking the word from its original Latin meaning.

5 The Factory Project takes place in a very large IRL exhibition space. How do you envision your exhibition to be presented?

We chose some larger-than-life artists and asked them to make the works that they have always wanted to make but never been able to or had the space to present. It will be an eclectic mix of sculpture and painting that will need to be experienced in all four dimensions to be appreciated. The space is so incredible that it will bring its own presence to the works, as it’s such a vast and impressive building.

Work in progress by Emmely Elgersma. Image by Oliver Holms

6 During COVID/ lockdown what have you been reading, watching, listening to?

Benjamin – I’m currently writing a thesis about skateboarding and so that is occupying a lot of my reading/watching/listening time at the moment. Specifically about things like gender and representation, and how inclusive or exclusive skateboarding is. I might compare and contrast it with the art world somehow, but I’m still at the planning stage so who knows. I’m also reading a book about the six major extinction events and it oddly features a lot about frogs.

Nick – I’ve been watching all the James Bond films back-to-back in a caravan whilst sharing a big Sunny Delight with a Manc builder. Unfortunately, one of my VHS tapes had been recorded over with America’s Strongest Man though and so the Bondathon was interrupted by a giant Michael Bolton lookalike in a tight vest throwing an oven over bales of hay.

7 Have there been any positives for you from lockdown?

Never before have we been able to observe the resilience and innovativeness of artists on such a vast scale. For all its downsides, the past year and a half has encouraged artists to work in different ways than those they are used to, and for the most part, they have risen to the occasion. 

8 2022 what do you have planned? & do you feel confident about the future?

Yes, 2022 will definitely be a very exciting year. As well as the Delphian Residency, we have a few other ideas of things that we might do. It’s also nice to not know where things might lead though, so we are also keeping our options open and seeing where things lead us. Maybe the Delphian Podcast will make a return or a Delphian aquatic adventure. Maybe we’ll start a cult.

The Factory Project is one of the largest curated events during London’s Frieze week and will be held at Thameside Industrial Estate, from 9 – 22 October 2021. Free Tickets

The Factory Project is an independent museum-scale exhibition that has been scheduled to take place during London’s Frieze week. It has been initiated to support emerging to mid-career artists and curators and is presented as a multi-disciplinary survey project. This exhibition plays host to 10 UK based independent curators and curatorial platforms; each producing their own exhibitions within the larger factory site and will be showcasing upwards of 80 artists.

The Factory Project takes place at the monumental Thameside Industrial Estate, a 6,284m2 warehouse and yard complex in North Woolwich, Newham – a short walk from London’s City Airport and nestled between the Tate & Lyle’s Sugar Refinery and the Thames Barrier – on Factory Road. It is produced by Thorp Stavri and is supported by Projekt and FAD Magazine.

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