For Your Safety & Security

03 Jul 2014 - 29 Aug 2014

New Sculptures: Bugs, Warheads & Vitrines Curated by Peter Fleissig

Eleven Spitalfields is pleased to announce a solo exhibition of sculpture by London-based artist Nick Turvey, curated by Peter Fleissig. This is Turvey’s first exhibition with the gallery, which occupies the two ground floor Georgian paneled rooms of a house originally built by Samuel Worrell in 1720, in the heart of the Fournier Street conservation area in East London.

Continuing Turvey’s use of military metaphor, these latest works treat weaponry as a proxy for the body, scrutinizing the anatomy of power, and revealing connections between the political and more internal or interpersonal forms of conflict. In Wunderkammer style, mixed media pieces occupy floor and wall vitrines lined with period wallpaper, combined with free-standing, cast and painted bronze works. The unease produced by these sinister toys, in which the infantile and domestic turns sexual or violent, may originate in the anxieties of a Cold War childhood, with its repressed fears of confrontation. Yet this witty work also calls attention to how we objectify as ‘other’ those aspects of ourselves we find disturbing. It reminds us that the social contract granting the State a monopoly on violence is equally about allowing its citizens to create a more favourable image of themselves.

Turvey’s multidisciplinary practice encompasses sculpture, design and film-making. He graduated from the Royal College of Art in 2006, after previously studying architecture. Recent exhibitions include solo shows at The Gibberd Gallery, Harlow; The Print Room, London and ASC, London, as well as group shows Interesting Times, Leicester; Surface, Burghley House; Sculptour, Phoenix Gallery, Belgium; and The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge. Large-scale works are permanently installed in London, Harlow, and the Pinsent Masons collection.

More information available on Nick Turvey's website, please click here to view




PF - Cowboys and Indians. Mummy and Daddy. What do you remember of your childhood as a first experience of art?

NT - Probably Heureka by Jean Tinguely at Expo 1964 in Lausanne, a creaking towering great mushroom cloud of metal. I was 5.


PF - Did you have wallpaper in your room?

NT - Yes. It was a cowboys and indians wallpaper, later replaced by Thunderbird.


PF - Mushroom clouds and Thunderbirds - Why didn't you join the UN or Swiss Army to protect and obey?

NT - I never was very good at joining in, perhaps as a result of the fetish for team games at school, with the captains picking their teams, and me always getting picked last, perhaps something to do with the football match where I worked out that I got to kick the ball more often if I stood still in the middle of the pitch rather than chasing it around. I wish I could have joined the Swiss army tho. One of the best things I did last summer was visiting Festung Furigen, a decommissioned Swiss army base carved into a cliff near Lucerne, with all the weapons, cutlery, gas filters, giant doors etc intact. It made me realise how ineffectual the general run of US survivalist fantasies are.


PF - Where do you get your creative juice in London?

NT - I've developed a taste for big narrative historical paintings, so I like dropping in to the National to look at a couple of things. The Science Museum has sparked more than a few ideas. I tend to think quite well while swimming.


PF -  Nick Turvey is an artist interested in the pattern and structure of the natural world, with a background in architecture and film making. True or false?

NT - I am still interested in the pattern and structure of the natural world, but not so much as an artist. Architecture and film are more part of my artist tool kit, in terms of thinking of object as experience, and of interior space as a proxy for mental space. I think the key word for me now is existential, trying to articulate the humour, absurdity and pain of being a mind in a body, trying to communicate with others in a similar predicament. Philip Guston is a name I forgot to mention.