Mark Titchner: We only need desire

Mark Titchner (b. 1973) is known for his text-based works that can be found in public spaces both in the UK and internationally. Through language and words, Titchner explores the tensions between the different belief systems that inform our society, be they religious, scientific or political. His work is held in many public collections including Tate, Arts Council, Government Art Collection, British Council, South London Gallery and Manchester Art Gallery.

Mark Titchner, We only need desire, NFT

Mark Titchner created his inaugural NFT work, minted on April 12 in exclusive partnership with Verisart and SuperRare as part of 10×10: 10 inaugural NFTs by 10 major contemporary artists over 10 weeks. Bidding is open until 1pm EDT April 15.

We only need desire

Mark Titchner’s inaugural NFT, We only need desire, is an exploration of desire, consumerism, and rapture. “I have a long-running interest in how you depict a moment of ecstasy or rapture. I was trying to think about a particular type of ecstasy which is the ecstasy of consumption and what it might look like.”

Titchner’s work was also inspired by his reading of the last lectures of cultural theorist Mark Fisher. Of particular interest, Titchner explains, “was how the book looks at the connection between class consciousness and libidinal desire and whether there is a way for them to co-exist productively”.

The NFT video depicts the words exploding and dissipating only to come back again. This echoes consumerism’s need to endlessly keep going while at the same time being unsustainable on an environmental and human level. The repetitive cycle captured in the video would seem to imply that however damaging the need and want to consume might be, the system is inescapable as no clear alternative presents itself to us.

Mark Titchner, We only need desire, still image from NFT, courtesy of the artist

The work grapples with these broad ideas and concepts. Mark Titchner says, “The driver for what I do is trying to understand something, what the world is, what I am, what we are and there are lots of different positions that co-exist which people believe at certain points in time. In a way, the piece is a voice or a conversation, which gives form to something which is unsaid.”

The NFT work addresses a number of themes and raises more questions than it answers. Although the work emerges from the artist’s personal reflections, Titchner does not offer judgment. The element of ambiguity is key to his works. The phrases the artist captures hold different meanings for different people in different situations. The work is intended to be a starting point for conversations, “With a lot of my statements I want people to think “actually, that’s not the case”. It’s a sort of provocation”.

Art for the public

In thinking about how to start conversations, Titchner turned to creating much of his work in social spaces, where the art can reach a broader number of people in a wide variety of contexts. Titchner explains, “This could equally mean placing works in the streets, a public library, a secure psychiatric unit or in entirely virtual environments. What do the spaces that artworks inhabit tell us about what it is that art can or might do? What do these spaces do to art and what does art do to them?”

Mark Titchner, The world isn’t working. Berlin, 2008. Courtesy of the artist.

During the early stages of Lockdown, he produced the project ‘Please believe these days will pass’. Poster and billboard versions of this artwork appeared in hundreds of sites in cities around the UK. The work was widely shared on social media and utilized around the world for news editorial. The phrase has been translated into several languages including French, Polish, Greek and Spanish and can now be seen in cities across Europe. A version of the work will be presented in Southwark Cathedral in May.

Mark Titchner, Please believe these days will pass. London, 2020. Courtesy of the artist

As a digital work available online, the NFT is accessible to a global audience. Titchner explains that part of his interest in NFTs was “trying to understand it better as a social space and think about spaces outside of the traditional gallery and museum context”.

Mark Titchner, Where do you end and I begin? Manchester, 2021. Courtesy of the artist

Art for giving back

Over the years, Mark Titchner has worked with a number of charities. His ongoing collaboration with Hospital Rooms has led to a series of mural-based works in secure psychiatric units. Titchner also runs workshops and group activities, in particular with young people and in these mental health settings. Many of his public works have been the result of these workshops and the reflections and discussions that take place.

Mark Titchner, Eden. Hull 2017. Courtesy of the artist.

Through the sale of his NFT, Mark Titchner is taking the opportunity to support two charities focused on art and mental health, Bethlem Gallery and Hospital Rooms, with whom he has worked extensively. The artist will be donating 25% of his proceeds, to be split equally between the two charities.

Mark Titchner, We only need desire, Fair Trade Art Certificate of Authenticity by Verisart, courtesy of Verisart.

Mark Titchner’s NFT is certified with a Fair Trade Art Certificate from Verisart, an award-winning blockchain certification platform. Fair Trade Art is an initiative by Verisart designed to bring together artists and social impact organizations to do good. The certificate signals that funds from the sale of the artwork are benefiting a charitable cause.

For collectors, Verisart’s patent-pending Certificates of Authenticity (COA) form an integral part of collecting NFTs. They provide confidence in the identity of the artist and the verified history of the artwork. Designed to empower artists to tell the story of their work, the digital certificates include additional images, videos and documents. Titchner’s certificate includes an exclusive collector reward. The owner of the certificate of the work will gain exclusive access to a clip of the NFT video with sound.

Mark Titchner, The sun rises bright. London, 2020. Courtesy of the artist.

About the Artist

Mark Titchner’s (b. 1973, Luton, UK) work involves an exploration of the tensions between the different belief systems that inform our society, be they religious, scientific or political. Focusing on an exploration of words and language, in recent years much of his production has been based in the public realm both in the UK and internationally. These public works have often been created from extended group activities, working particularly with young people and in mental health settings. He was nominated for the Turner Prize in 2006, participated in the Venice Biennale in 2007 and was Artist in Residence at the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto in 2012. In 2018 he completed a major new permanent public work, ‘Me, Here Now’ which is installed at London Bridge Station. His work is held in many public collections including Tate, Arts Council, Government Art Collection, British Council, South London Gallery, Guildhall Art Gallery, Manchester Art Gallery and Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery.

Bidding for Mark Titchner’s inaugural NFT, We only need desire, closes at 1pm EDT on April 15.

Join Mark Titchner1 on ART TALKS WITH VERISART to hear him discuss life, art and tech with Robert Norton, CEO and co-founder of Verisart. Tuesday, April 13 at 3pm EDT/8pm BST on Clubhouse.

Shedding light on the world of art & collectibles

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store