121/183 book by Boris “DELTA” Tellegen


761 photos of red-brown steel freight wagons with a painting on the side

At the beginning of the 2010s European graffiti originator DELTA started painting freight trains. He started a huge series of paintings which were solely executed on relatively unpopular DB (“Deutsche Bahn”) Falns 121 and 183 cargo trains. By using mainly white paint and black spray paint he managed to paint more than 760 cars of these models until 2023.

The simplified and reduced works immediately catch your attention when a row of coal carrying Falns trains passes by. Just like a sketch book DELTA used each wagon to conceptualize one idea and continues to the next one.
“The time it takes to paint a wagon varies from 25 minutes to an hour. […] In warm summer months, a number of paintings can be made in succession. Often three in a session but sometimes five or more. For a while a random goal of painting a minimum of one hundred wagons a year was reached.”

121/183 reminds of an exhibition catalogue in which almost every work has been documented frontal without any disturbing surrounding elements. Although each work is dated and sometimes titled they appear in non-chronological order but have been compiled to conceptual series of works. Several small texts by the artist divide the photo parts and give insights into thoughts on impermanence, the tools, the spot, or the way of execution.
“…each painting had to be as unique as possible. A sketch had to be made in advance for each painting. To minimize repetition, it is necessary to do a lot of preliminary study, to strive for variation.”

Additional chapters include close-ups, spotted wagons which show traces of usage and display the works’ decay and an analysing afterword by François Chastanet. This beautiful produced publication does not only include the complete series of DELTA’s Falns cars, it is also his first book showing only photos of graffiti works ever!

256 pages, 23 x 30 cm, two different papers, softcover with poster dust jacket
Language: English
Release date: May 2024
ISBN: 9789083106649
Publisher: ApaperBook Publishing