Posts Tagged ‘self-image’

Turner Prize Entry: Enrico David

In art|BOOK on November 12, 2009 at 3:35 pm


By Catherine McGuire

David is a contemporary surrealist who creates rich and profoundly original painting, drawing and sculpture. Enrico David has been nominated for his solo exhibitions How Do You Love Dzzzzt By Mammy? at the Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Basel, and Bulbous Marauder at the Seattle Art Museum. However these are just facts. In order to understand Enrico’s work, you must experience it.

Let me paint you a picture in words. Imagine a featureless white rectangular room; insert a black oblong stage, half a metre high, stretching from one corner to the other. The stage is set for a piecemeal of images. On the right there is a huge painting on canvas, a head in the middle occupied with pornographic thoughts, failing to be released through the tiny slit that forms its mouth. All that comes out is the insidious painting to its left, a figure in the shadows banging a drum in flurry of hands, resembling Günter Grasses Tin Drum.

A rectangular box stands close by with the picture of disturbing disfigured dolls arranged in all shapes and sizes, peering down a trap door at the paper cut out of a man in the foetal position, dressed as a baby. Stage left a human sized canvas ellipses the side, portraying a deranged red head holding onto a pole, accompanied by a man in a turban in a pot on its right (which looks remarkably like Noel Fielding in The Mighty Boosh). Centre stage lays the deformed black body of a faceless man, is you can call it a man, lying disfigured across the stage, connecting these installations with this stretched arms and legs.

‘This must be the work of a mad man,’ are the first thoughts that flash through my head, disconcerted by the dark figures, the disembodied shapes and most of all the artist rendition of himself in the form of the two deformed manikins, that resemble neither man nor animal, one positioned in the audience and the other staring out from the stage.

Yet the more I regarded Enrico’s work the more I became fascinated with the psychological meaning behind each carefully positioned composition. The theatre became a challenge of comprehension. What is it the artist wants me to see?

Through out Enrico’s work there is a presiding theme concerning the body. The human form is rarely presented as a unified whole. Instead it is fragmented, deformed, creating a sense of physical and emotional crisis proliferating, which contributes to the uneasy exchange between the viewer and art work. Enrico is confronting the viewer with images that the on lookers may not want to confront themselves, such as the fear of ‘disfigurement’, not socially fitting in to the common ‘norm,’ and in the process being found out.

Enrico David has said that his art works purpose is ‘To organise and give structure to the often chaotic nature of (his)emotional response to reality.’ This theatre of the mind is like a foreign language one tries to decipher, but can not fully comprehend. The artist represents his own incomprehension with his presence as manikin, with in and with out this production. There are no translators. One is lead to theorise, with out ant ‘true’ answer at the end, and this is the fun of Enrico’s work.

This is definitely a must see, and more importantly, a must experience. I will leave it up to you to go and experience the Turner Prize and formulate your own thoughts on this artist in particular, as words are not enough.