Small insights in the universe of Thomas Dellert.
*> For me being an artist is to walk along the razor sharp shoreline between the sea of annihilation and the inner landscape of hope; to float in the gap between the awareness of our souls and the indifference of our TV screens. To survive the no-man’s land-where art swings between the cruel madness of reality, and the beauty and serenity of our dreams
— Thomas Dellert*
Thomas Dellert-Dellacroix (born in Stockholm, 1953) has for the last fourty years been working with various art forms. He has had more than 100 exhibitions in and around Europe and the United States, and is represented in museums as well as official and private collections all over the world including the Absolut Vodka the Heinz Collection, The Swedish Royal family collection , and the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC .
His visual art spans from painting, collage, junk sculpture, to photography, photomontage, video installation, as well as poetry and music. He has designed costumes and sets for theatre, opera and television, book covers and record sleeves.
His visual language is direct, sometimes even violent, but always with a humanistic approach. Although he feels the need to explore the darker side of mankind, he uses irony and humour as his tools. In this tradition most of his art deals with the history of the 20th century.
Thomas Dellert puts a lot of attention to accuracy and truthfulness in his art works. Tirelessly, for years he has been collecting newspaper clippings with apocalyptic headlines, and fetish memorabilia from the last century to build the backbone of his documentary art form.
He also incorporates sound and video, that give direct links to the historical episodes that are depicted in the art works.
During his early years as an artist working and living in New York, he moved in the same circle as Jean Michael Basquiat, and Keith Haring. His friendship with the legendary Pop-artist Andy Warhol gave way to mutual inspiration. Warhol Camouflage works where inspired by Dellert’s early prints. This in exchange resulted in a series of Thomas’ silk-screens, based on the Warhol techniques. Even though some of their work looks similar at first side, though looking closer one realizes that Thomas Dellert, who had been brought up in a socially aware Sweden, shared Warhol’s fascination for glamour and beauty, but in a more satirical and critical way he found his own more complexed pop art expression with a social awareness within the content. He actually later inspired Warhol with the camouflage prints Thomas had created in 1979 that later became Warhols own art expression.The same happened with artist Jean Michel Basquiat who visited Dellert's exhibit in New York 1982. All paintings by Dellert was then framed with ropes in larger then canvas wood frames. After the exhibit Thomas left all frames on the street outside the art gallery on St Marx Place a streets away from the home of Basquiat. He brought them home and this framing technique with larger wood frames then the actual canvas and the canvases being pulled with ropes became his trade mark. Many years later Thomas was invited to the Basquiat Retrospective exhibition at the Serpentine Art Gallery in Hyde Park London and then saw his frames on the walls, now with Jean Michel’s art inside them.
In 2001 while living and working in his Utopia London, Thomas met Agnieszka Dellfina that resulted in a passionate artistic and personal relationship, which propelled them into the contemporary art scene.
With Agnieszka at his side Thomas found a new language, a fruitful dialogue and an exciting journey that followed, resulting in a series of artworks spanning from photography, painting, video, live performance, music and poetry, as well as ready-mades and installations. The synonyms Dellfina and Dellacroix spun out of their family name Dellert, and the artistic logo D&D was created to represent their universe. Together they made over 50 International exhibits and 55 Short movies, as well as many music recordings under the name of Dejavu.
In 2009 they decided to go separate ways. They divorced as husband and wife and split apart as the artistic couple they had been for nearly 10 years. Dellfina now works on her own solo career and is back in her home country of Poland.
Thomas Dellert-Dellacroix have done works for Andy Warhol, The Red Cross, Childhood, Amnesty International, The Swedish Royal Opera,Absolute Vodaka, The Heinz Collection, Mercedes Benz, The Swedish Royal family, The Royal Court Theatre- Confidencen , The Anne Frank ambulent exhibition. The Holocaust Memorial Museum Washington DC, Thomas have been the official artist for Mercedes Benz, and Absolut Vodka.
Throughout the long years of his career, Thomas has been living in many cities including Stockholm, New York, Antigua (West Indies), Stuttgart, Barcelona, Warsaw and most of all in London for 8 years and Paris for 12 years, Berlin for 6 years and two years in Venice. He is curently moving to Vienna Austria.
THOMAS DELLERT-History in the making
“In my art I do not try to explore the spectra of artistic colors, nor the density between different materials or surfaces, and I find no interest in playing with perspective or form. My passion lays in a total different artistic expression -my fascination for the playfulness within trends and “isms”, and the gap between fame and misfortune. I tend to dive deep into the dark side of history and find my inspiration to express my fear of what might happen in the future by digging into the abyss of the past. Although my art often takes a recognizable form, it never strives to copy- to the contrary. After the first impression when coming across any of my works, you will find a playful and intellectual dialogue with different artists and art movements of the past. By using a well-known language of expression I bridge the familiar of the past with the unknown of the present.”
Already at age 10 he would make his first modern art paintings and collage, depicting war and atrocities . Being born only eight years after the end of WW2 Thomas was living in an after war atmosphere full of stories and war documentaries, he watched on one of the first TV sets in Sweden This would also become a great influence for his art form he today calls “ Documentarism “ Having heard the many stories from his grandmother who had lived through two world wars, and his grandfather who participated in the Berlin Olympics in 1936 he got interested in history and story telling. Thomas was also at an early age exposed to the first documentaries from the liberation of concentration camps and death camps like Dachau and Auschwitz. This would later become one of his main themes in his art and created a need to tell this story to future generations. He has worked on his “Shoah” art trying to tell the story of the holocaust for over 30 years. He was chosen to exhibit at the first Holocaust conference held at the Stockholm Culture house in … and in 2008 he had Auschwitz Birkenau closed down for one day to be able to make his short movie “Silent white hell “ In 2015 he had a large multimedia exhibit titled “ Stunde Null “ to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the and of WW 2 and the battle of Berlin and Hitler’s suicide in his bunker. This resulted in a series of portraits titled “Face of Evil “ using Adolf Hitler as the raw model for all kinds of evil in the world. He also exhibited another new series of works titled “ Deadly Logos “ based on the logos of world corporations that profited on WW2 and the Holocaust and that today are involved in the new evil of world terrorism. Thomas works are both satirical and informative in structure, and they carry with them both the awareness of the deep darkness in human nature as well as a shining light of hope for man kind.
If there is any “leitmotif” that soaks through Dellert’s works -it is “History”, but not only the presence, but the whole 20th century from the Nazi genocide and the Holocaust, to the slaughter in Vietnam, the fall of Soviet Empire’s, the Berlin Wall, the massacre at the Tiananmen Square, the war against Iraq. Those are not easy topics to portray but art after all shouldn’t be about easy subjects. Many artists in the history like Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Delacroix, Goya, and Picasso that we know so well were all stimulated by the image of war . Dellert manages to form these historical events into a personal reality. Dellert’s oeuvres are full of outspoken humanistic motives inspired by his international surrounding and events that have formed, and Is ,forming all our lives Neither literature nor art would have any meaning or reason of existence without a human involvement. For if its the Buddha statues in Afghanistan being destroyed by Talibans, or Babylon’s ancient walls in Iraq ruined by American tanks, it is “History” - history linked to the private life of every one of us. This relation is something, which is clearly evident in the art of Thomas Dellert. In Dellert’s vast production, which excels from hand printed silk-screens, photomontage, paintings to short films, and photography. All the different series of works we look at represent a high level of artistic craftsmanship. But what makes these works so exiting and tantalising is the true energy that they transmit, which we observers immediately feel.