Taking Back Control

As British (and now French) Europeans, we were no fans of the original '-exit', but there's no escaping the aptness of the terminology as used here. Please join us in reclaiming our history...

Back in the mists of the early 90s, when drawing was seen as a mere preparatory stage of contemporary creation and we were young and naive, we tolerated inappropriate labels such as 'visionary', 'folk', 'self-taught' or 'singulier'. These denominations then shared a galaxy with something known as 'Outsider Art', hereon denoted by the initials OA.

By 1996, by which time we'd come to learn the criteria and connotations of OA (research took longer in analogue days), we first publicly distanced ourselves from the classification. We have done so at every opportunity since. We've nothing against it; it's simply not correct in our case. Academics of the field have come to the same conclusion.

But something strange happened as the internet age dawned; OA morphed into a black hole, consuming every category in proximity. All nuance began to disappear. Given that even the peripheral labels were wrong for us, we made every effort to resist the gravitational pull, yet found ourselves frozen on the event horizon.

Two hero galleries came to our rescue: Cavin-Morris and Delmes & Zander, both committed to the old categories in all their diversity, but also to the truth. Over the ensuing years, and with the help of a number of contemporary institutions, they allowed us to emerge, blinking, into the light of a new world that came into focus in the mid-noughties: our rightful home, Contemporary Drawing.

Most are up to speed with developments. However, certain auction houses continue to get it wrong, and we continually firefight. Some (Toomey, Doyle) have corrected the error when informed; others (including a certain top-tier company from whom one would expect higher standards of research) are more stubbornly attached to an imaginary, parallel Hipkiss. As artists in mid-career, our work should scarcely be at auction at all - let alone among the dead, as most in these sales are.

A couple of unauthorised galleries also peddle the alternative Hipkiss via resales; though legal action is expensive, it is sometimes unavoidable. Meanwhile, we hope that we may intercept some of the works that might otherwise end up in these places.

We remain hugely appreciative of anyone who bought our work, from no matter whom and under what guise; we owe you the courtesy of correcting any misunderstandings about the authors' identity. Should you be one of those collectors that owns an older work but does not have an updated certificate of authenticity, we can provide a replacement on request.

For enquiries about our current projects, please visit our main site (hipkissart.com) for a list of our galleries. However, should you be interested in older pieces or have one you wish to sell, do get in touch via the Contact link at the top. Our aim is to create an exclusive list of prospective buyers and sellers.

To read more about our early years and the misclassification, you'll find a blog post here.