The Paris-born visual artist of French, Belgo-Congolese heritage, has lived in many places and resides now in Lisbon, Portugal. During one of our conversations, Tiffanie Delune generously shares with me that Lisbon is the place where she feels ‘most at home’. There is a lot of resilience in how she has created living situations all over the world. After having lived in many cities around the world, somehow Lisbon now, feels like home. She feels ‘cared for there’.
A feeling she describes as incontestably evident during her time in Accra as well. The work flows and things seem to fall into place. A place, a space, sometimes physical but often beyond ‘the physical’, can provide this. A place to go beyond and to ‘let be’. Her ongoing exploration of the Self in different times and places through different lenses guided by these places, evokes freedom, imagination, the otherworldly and her own spirituality. Ghana’s bright days and dark nights have welcomed Delune to express herself in all her abundance and multiplicity. The works express a daringness and fearlessness that stems from a rooted core and cared for inner world.
Being able to come in as the whole complex person you are and dare to let this be seen is what Delune’s new body of work presents us. Tiffanie Delune expresses through her use of bright colours, secure lines, subtle threading, and big scale gestures how she was able to be herself during the residency process. She hereby provided herself with works that capture this completeness. The anger, the love, the sensual, the moderate, the abundance, the bright fire, the air, the earth, and the water. The wholeness of her being. Expanding from an initial focus on personal trauma and childhood experiences, Delune is interested in the magic of storytelling that engages conversations and evokes emotions.
Delune is not afraid. Not afraid to mix different media. From layering acrylic, oil pastel, paper cuts, to delicate threads that draw colourful lines that form circles and rays. The artist seems to intervene in the already bright works with this delicate material and threading technique. It, again, shows her versatility. The empathy and care that is detectable by zooming in, and truly staying with and within the work. Delune invites the viewer and listener, invoking Tina Campt (2017, 2021), to come closer and become comfortable with the complexity of wholeness and with oneself. She hereby taps further into a kind of magic and abstraction. She is physically manifesting the magic that is her spirituality, her womanhood, her fire, her sensitivity, her anger, her sensibility. Lovingly embracing all of it in multiplicity.
The canvasses, the textiles, the designs, shapes, and colours corresponding with African textiles, invite a serene wholeness. Delune expresses this rather evident in her latest body of work, made and produced during her residency in Accra. Possibly by virtue of Accra, a space that, as she explains herself, ‘is making her feel good and this translates in the work.’ A kind of common moment magic. Bright light during the day, dark nights but life doesn’t frighten her. She dares to express her softness, her feminine side. Soft, transparent textiles hanging from the ceiling that invite you to come closer and discover details. A gesture that is powerful as much as it is symbolic. Combining different media on the canvasses means reconstructing beauty and its imagination. Most importantly, to stop and take the time to contemplate and process the feelings, the emotional response to the situations that life presents us with. A transformative process able to generate new meanings, give hope and make beauty out of pain, just like the soft waves and coloured lines blossoming all over her canvases.
Tiffanie Delune expresses a fiery enthusiasm and openness to her surroundings, as well as to her inner world. It is exactly that which is vividly visible and listenable in her work. In this exhibition, she showcases her paintings both on large canvases as on smaller scale, in different forms and structures. Working on (stretched) cotton canvas, with materials ranging from acrylic, oil, spray paint, oil pastel, paper cuts, glitter, threads and pen and pencil. The artistic performance of self-discovery is prominent in her work. Delune’s ongoing research into what representation of self might mean is a narrative that continues to be fruitful and interesting. With this new show: ‘There is Gold on the Palms of my Hands’, rethinking roots, belonging and Self through Accra’s bright light and lens, Delune seems to have discovered a new layer of herself. Flux and transformation are ever apparent in this new body of work.
There is a certain familiarity in the organic forms she portrays. Feminine forms, circles, lines, connections through threads combined with mystical, unfamiliar, and deformed shapes and figurines. These paintings reflect a soothing balance in their complex boldness. They challenge and hereby deconstruct an imagined reality, as traditional shapes that remind us of feminine body parts and draw the viewer to the matter in a way that seems to challenge the assumptions of what is natural and inherent. Do however not mistake the bright colours, forms, and different materials, packed and bursting with intensity, for chaos. As Edouard Glissant states: ‘I call chaos-world the current clash of so many cultures that embrace each other, push each other away, disappear, yet remain, fall asleep or transform, slowly or at lightning speed.’ The kind of ‘chaos-world’ Delune so generously and carefully embraces. The longer you sit with the works, engage with them, and embrace them, the more you will encounter the calm, rest, and tranquillity Delune offers. A harmonious, complex wholeness that provides a challenge to the idea of reality being undecided and therefore allows for unfixed, fluid answers to questions about being and womanhood, older than life itself.
–Curatorial essay by Rita Ouédraogo
About the artist
(b.1988, France. Lives and works in between Accra and Lisbon)
Expanding from an initial focus on personal trauma and childhood experiences, Delune is interested in the magic of storytelling that engages conversations and evokes emotions. Her debut solo exhibition with the gallery is currently on show in Accra, Ghana. Previous solo presentations include ‘See Me Flowing’, Band of Vices, Los Angeles, USA (2022); ‘There’s Gasoline in My Heart’, Foreign Agent, Lausanne, Switzerland (2022); ‘Seeds of Light’, Ed Cross Fine Art, London, UK (2020) and ‘Metamorphosis’, Someth1ng Gallery, London, UK (2019). Group exhibitions include, ‘UNLIMITED’, Gallery 1957, Accra, Ghana (2022); ‘The Storytellers’, Gallery 1957, London, UK (2022); ‘Mother Nature’, The Core Club, New York (2022); ‘Her Dark Materials’, Online with Eye Of The Huntress, London, (2021); ‘In The Beginning’, Online with Ed Cross Fine Art, London (2021); ‘Shape of the New’, Online with ArtCan, London (2021) and ‘In The Midst of All That Is’, Band of Vice, Los Angeles (2021).
In 2022, Delune was nominated for the 2023 Norval Sovereign African Art Prize. Between January and March 2023, the artist was in residency with Gallery 1957, Accra. In 2021, Delune was nominated for the Reiffers Art Initiative Prize in Paris, France and in 2018, she completed a residency with 16/16 in Lagos, Nigeria. Delune has been featured on Forbes, BBC Radio London, The Financial Times, The Evening Standard, Cultured Magazine, Artillery Magazine and Artsy. Her work is held in various private collections and the permanent collections of the Fondation Gandur pour l’Art in Geneva, Switzerland as well as the Alexandra Cohen Presbyterian Hospital for Women and Newborns in New York and The Women’s Art Collection of the Murray Edwards College at Cambridge University, UK.
About Gallery 1957
Based in Accra, with a London outpost opened in 2020, Gallery 1957 has a curatorial focus on West Africa. Presenting a programme of exhibitions, installations and performances by the region’s most significant artists, the gallery serves as a vital platform, promoting West Africa’s presence within the art scene by hosting ambitious exhibitions, providing resources for residencies and participating in international art fairs. Founded by Marwan Zakhem in 2016, Gallery 1957 has evolved from over 15 years of private collecting. The gallery now hosts three spaces in Accra – one in the Kempinski Hotel and two in the Galleria Mall – and a London outpost in Hyde Park Gate.
Artist: Tiffanie Delune
Title: There’s Gold On The Palm Of My Hands
Dates: 29th March – 3rd May 2023
Opening Reception: Wednesday, 29th March, 2023, 6pm – 9pm
Address: Gallery 1957, Accra, Gallery II Kempinski Hotel Gold Coast and Galleria Mall PM 66 – Ministries
Gamel Abdul Nasser Avenue Ridge – Accra