with Enver Gürsev & Eldi Dundee
curated by Nathalie Khan
60 Great Suffolk Street, London SE1 0BL
Exhibition runs: 3rd until 8th October 1-6pm (or by appointment)
Private Views: 4th and 7th October 2011, 7pm onwards
Five years ago, two supposedly grown up assemblage artists met and decided to join forces for an exhibition of their past, present (and future*) work involving dolls and toys. 'Play Nice, Now !' is the result.
They chose to call the show: 'PLAY NICE, NOW !'
1) because it sums up their intention to make the work in the spirit of playfulness and
2) because it makes them laugh to say the title using stupid accents.
* Visitors are invited to bring their own toys and dolls for Enver and Eldi to alter or add to an assemblage. Note that unless you are prepared to have your toy or doll permanently altered and possibly dismembered, you are not advised to let this crazy pair get anywhere near your toys! You have been warned!
Enver Gürsev insists on playing with toys and incorporating them into his art works, despite having grown lots of facial hair some time ago to signify his status as a grown man. He also refuses to justify his toy assemblages in art-speak, despite being an associate lecturer at University of the Arts London. However, he does have a fascination with the history of toys and the histories of the individual toys. He believes the history of dolls in particular, is closely linked to the history of man himself and how in order to make an image of himself, man has made a cultural symbol of the doll, which follows him through all of life's experiences. The historical use of the doll as a symbol of religious devotion, as an ex-voto object, a gift to accompany the dead into the grave and along their journey throughout the afterlife, as an amulet, a magic symbol, an idol and a talisman - these were the functions of dolls long before they became playthings for children. In Gürsev's words: Now it's time to claim the doll back! A Camberwell sculpture alumnus, Enver Gürsev has participated in over 50 exhibitions to date and worked on location in Cuba, Columbia, USA and Cyprus. Born London to Cypriot parents, he resides in his native London with his exquisitely eclectic music collection, his paintings, and his toys.
Eldi Dundee is a former student of Gürsev's, a graduate of the Byam Shaw School of Art (Central St Martins/ University of Arts London), a post-grad of the University of East London's MA programme, a former Human Ecology student with College of the Atlantic, Maine, and a current student of Art History at the Open University, London. Dundee, having also 'done time' as a model-slash-actress in her youth (both in her native NY and internationally), knows intimately what it feels like to 'be a doll'. When she gave birth to a girl-child several years ago, she became hyper-aware of the complex psycho-sexual significance of the influence that a certain famous brand-named fashion doll has on the psyche and self-image of a little girl, and tried to dissuade her daughter from falling into her plastic clutches. A self-taught, outsider artist at the time, Dundee began experimenting with them in her work with a tongue-in-cheek obsessivenes-small, neat, portable and easy to clean up and put away when the baby wakes up or company comes over, and they are perfectly surreal and powerfully iconic readymade objects in themselves. Unfortunately, now that her child is older, Dundee's love/hate relationship with this 'Doll that shall not be named' has not deterred said daughter from being as enchanted as she herself was as a child, and mummy has been made to promise never to pull off another doll's head in the name of art ever again. Dundee only promises not to use her daughter's dolls in her art work.
Work on show will include toy** assemblage, small-scale sculpture, painting, installation, photography, performance and film.
The artists hope their work will bring a smile to your face, though they are aware that some people will be just plain frightened, and will look for voodoo associations within it. (admittedly, in the case of some works at least, there probably are). Their work is surreal at times, yes; it's sometimes iconographic, and some might even call it blasphemous with its irreverent sense of humour, but the pair will insist that it's really mainly made in the spirit of being cheeky for the pure childish pleasure that being cheeky brings.
Parental Advisory Warning (from one parent to another) Probably not suitable for children under 12.