Enrico David: Ultra Paste

22 Mar 2008 – 9 May 2008

Talbot Rice Gallery

Edinburgh, United Kingdom


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Talbot Rice Gallery is pleased to present Ultra Paste, a major solo exhibition by Italian born artist Enrico David.

Enrico David first came to attention in 1999 with a series of large scale, embroidered canvases, one of which was exhibited as part of the group show Girlpower & Boyhood at Talbot Rice Gallery in 2006. David's practice has since further diversified with a sculptural element becoming an important part of his work. Always using drawing as a backbone but also borrowing from traditional craft techniques and stylistic design, he employs these with mischief, playfulness, and a certain knowing crudeness; setting before us a cast of characters in theatrical situations and mock stagesets.

This exhibition demonstrates the breadth of David's imagination and output, but also his influences. Gouaches, photography and large canvases sit alongside sculpture of varying scale, with clear links to a strong Italian design tradition which is in itself uncompromising and bold.

Central to the exhibition is the work that bears it's title. Ultra Paste (2007) is a re-imagined facsimilie of the artists childhood bedroom. Taking his inspiration from a 1935 photo-collage by artist Dora Maar, we see a teenage Enrico engaged in a perverse embrace with a generic anatomical mannequin. Encountering this work through a roped off doorway, we are forced into the position of voyeur. The work has links with another smaller piece, Sweet Seizure (2002) in recalling the Victorian phenomena of the shadow cabinet (often made as a memorial to a dead child) and which itself is inspired by a ludicrous photo-story spied within the pages of an adult magazine.

Meanwhile, elaborate, florid titles become a key part of deciphering the work; within a series of gouaches that occupy the upper part of the gallery, the viewer encounters works including Mudhippy turns mother and two daughters into mature cheddar. These often mysterious mini-tableau hint at situations on the verge of instability, insanity, or crisis.

David's work is impertinent, questioning and vital, reacting to a world of hysterical correctness and etiquette that demands that we comply to social normality.


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