Boris Tellegen, aka Delta, is an artist currently living and working in Amsterdam, where he was born in 1968. Tellegen originated as a graffiti artist in the 1980’s, working towards breaking the dimensionality of the flat surface he was painting on. The artist then learned how to push the depth of his work while studying Industrial Design Engineering at TU Delft until 1994. The knowledge that Tellegen acquired while studying architecture and design led him to break the plain with sculpturally driven works, rather than tags. Recently, Tellegen has continued creating mixed media sculptures through commissions in his native Netherlands.
Since his beginnings in the 80’s writing graffiti under the name “Delta,” Boris Tellegen’s focus has been drawn to walls. Tellegen says that, “if there is a recurrent theme in my body of work made over a thirty-year span, it is walls, and how to transcend their boundaries.” Through creating varying surfaces on the flat concrete walls, the artist began to bend mediums to his will early on in his career. The depth created in these early tags would not only make a name for the artist, but define the path that his artistic style would take.
This path would be further influenced by the artist’s studies in design and architecture, where Tellegen would develop new ways to spatially draw viewers into his creations. Specifically, Tellegen began looking at architectural plans and city layouts, which led to the creation of what the artist termed his “isometric industrial landscapes.” Each of these sculptures combines thick layers of building materials that start out as scattered salvaged materials and combine to form clean, crisp shapes.
With these installations, from a frontal view the composition appears to be a flat plain on geometric forms. However, upon closer inspection from the side, the viewer can see that Tellegen has painstakingly built up layer upon layer of materials. While each piece may be laid out with the minute details of a city planner, Tellegen tears and cuts the materials so that the artist’s hand is still present in each work. Through creating these tensions in his work, the artist’s art “investigates the tension between planning and happenstance; the semblance of order undone by schematic chaos.”
"My work is in collage, sculpture, drawings, videos and installations. It investigates the tension between planning and happenstance; the semblance of order undone by schematic chaos. Mankind is driven by an unshakeable faith in progress, where modern technology and constant growth leads us to a better world. My work explores a different outcome, where the automated forces unleashed develop structures and minds of their own. This fascination formed in the eighties, when the urban street became my canvas as I started writing graffiti under the alias of 'Delta.'
As Delta I became recognized worldwide among my peers for my three dimensional lettering. If there is a recurrent theme in my body of work made over a thirty-year span, it is walls, and how to transcend their boundaries. My collages read as isometric industrial landscapes. By layering, cutting and chiseling I search for change in scale and perspective. Pieces of paper get torn, glued and then torn again, and replicate beyond control, forming cityscapes resembling fuming wastelands.”
2011: Abundance, Alice Gallery, Brussels; Subduction Zones, Muziekgebouw, Amsterdam.; Onder constructie, RC de Ruimte, IJmuiden, Netherlands; Blowing Up the Spot #2, Studio Lukas Feireiss, Berlin, Germany. 2010: Exothermic, De Fabriek, Eindhoven;
Random Distress, Kleerup Gallery, Stockholm, Sweden. Backjumps 4.2, Kunstraum Kreuzberg Bethanien, Berlin, Germany
De Pyramide Van Ijmuiden, RC de ruimte, IJmuiden, Netherlands; Public Provocations, Weil am Rhein, Germany 2009: Dalek and Delta, Elms Lesters Gallery, London, United Kingdom; Born in the Streets, Fondation Cartier, Paris, France; D'raw, Glaspaleis, Heerlen, NL Wearable Technologies, NIMK, Amsterdam, Netherlands. 2008: The New Dutch Master, Elms Lesters Gallery, London. 2007: VHDG, Installation, Leeuwarden, NL.; Don’t Do That, Elms Lesters Gallery, London. 2006: The Whistle Test, Scion Installation, Los Angeles. 2004: Cubex, Installation, Esplanade, Singapore; Slam Jam, Ferrara, Italy. 2003: 6X6, Hoogt4, Utrecht, Netherlands; Permspace Gallery, Tokyo, Japan. 2000: Houston Gallery, Seattle, USA. 1998: Musee des Beaux Arts, Tourcoing, France.
Sources: Information and texts compiled by Rhiannon Platt from an artist’s statement by Tellegen on Alice Gallery’s website, (alicebxl.com), ArtNet.com, and a 2012 artist statement.