Monday, 6 September 2010

Interview with Enver Gürsev

It is a pleasure to interview our very own Cor Blimey(ite) Enver Gürsev! He is a painter and sculptor, who studied his BA (Hons) Visual Arts and Sculpture at Camberwell College of Arts in London (2000). Gürsev has a broad experience of working in the arts and has worked on projects such as; ‘The Way We Are’, which brought together the work of displaced and re-located children and young people living in the north and the south of Cyprus.

At present he is an associate lecturer at the University of the Arts London and is an integral member of Cor Blimey Arts Studio Space. I take the time to find out about his upcoming exhibition 'Pleasure Parlour', his motivations as an artist and his role within Core Gallery.

CP: You have been with Cor Blimey Studios for a considerable amount of time, Can you tell us about the development over the years?

EG: I joined the studios that are now ‘Cor Blimey Arts’ several years ago. I saw it emerge from a bankrupt space under a different name, run by a ghastly thief of a man (who took all our rent and never paid the landlord) and who almost managed to get us all evicted, to getting swooped up by Cor Blimey Arts and turned into a serious working studios. We have maintained a collective co-operative atmosphere, with an active role in mainly localised arts events and in the last year, there has been a massive surge of energy in the space, with the arrival of new members, bringing new ideas and pushing for the creation of projects such as Core Gallery, our very own prolific exhibition space within. I feel that Cor Blimey are really on the map now, more than ever before.

CP: Pleasure Parlour at Core Gallery is an Art Festival, celebrating the exotic, the erotic and sensuality within the physical form. How does your work represent this?

EG: The work I am submitting, is true to the elements of seduction with integral statements about what erotica embodies.  I employ what might be deemed as traditional erotic figurative imagery, with a personal take on seductive ‘pulp art’.  It leans rather nostalgically on my memories of illustrated magazine and comic covers from the 60’s and 70’s for reference. Stark and vivid, with sexy mysterious figures and a spurious longing in their eyes.  I think that fits the bill.  

CP: How was this exhibition conceived, and can you tell us how you have worked collaboratively with the other artists involved?

Red Nude: 'Pleasure Parlour'
EG: This show began life at an after party in Kelda’s place. We were discussing what we have been working on respectively and we soon found that we had accumulated a similar body of work, which in its essence was very much a celebration of sensuality. Kelda suggested I meet her friend Holly, who has a very interesting way of working with erotica and I in turn suggested we invite Peter Davis, my partner’s father and an astounding sculptor, who happens to also have beautiful sensual forms in his work, to show with us.

Our collaboration has been a very relaxed and remote one, with only a few meetings and very limited contact, mostly via email. This doesn’t mean to say that our meetings have not been intense in the least; they have been concise and very productive with many ideas being presented almost mechanically.  I think that when everyone knows what they are doing, things fall into place with minimal effort.

CP: You have been actively involved within ‘Core Gallery’ can you tell us what role you have played?

EG: From the outset, my role with Core Gallery has not digressed much from the one I had previously in Cor Blimey. I am responsible for organising the performances , parties and events, organising live music, as well as the general dogs body, putting up work, making good etc. But I like to think I’m a well oiled cog of an exiting and commited group, and a vital contribution for the smooth running of the gallery.

Exquisite Corpse: After party performances

CP: What is your most memorable experience as an artist?

EG: That’s a really loaded question, as my experience as an artist is very much ingrained into my experience as a person. I guess, if I think about it in terms of creative experience, it’s got to be my entry into the ghost town of Varosia, Famagusta in Cyprus, which is an entire city on the coast that has been uninhabited since 1974.

It’s miles of coastline with abandoned flats and empty grand hotels have haunted me since childhood.  I had been researching this place for a number of years, but entry is forbidden as it’s a military occupied zone, which made it all the more mysterious.  I gained access, got many photo’s (which are strictly forbidden), nearly got arrested and even had a gun at my head.  I went on to create a series of work, of immense importance to me.  

Famagusta, Enver Gursev

CP: Previous work that has featured in the show ‘Wilderness’ focused on the abandoned landscape and ghost town of Famagusta- (in the wake of the Greek-Turkish Cyprus war). Would you say your cultural background is imperative to your work? Can you tell us how this has influenced you as artist?

EG:  Yes, my cultural heritage has a lot to do with who I am and I think that even if unintentional, it rears it’s little tanned Cypriot head sometimes to have a poke at my very British self.  I wouldn’t say it’s imperative in my work, but somehow it is present, especially in my assemblages and installations, made of toys and knick knacks.

CP: What artists are you inspired by?

EG: Victor Brauner, Max Ernst, Wilfredo Lam, Louise Nevelson, Emil Nolde, Eduardo Paolozzi, Austin Osman Spare, Jan Svankmajer, and many Outsider Artists….a good mix of very different styles, many of the old masters and…oh and that guy that painted that massive swan that’s embracing that naked guy and chick on the beach at moonrise….(nah, just kidding!)

CP: You ‘recycle’ unwanted and discarded paintings to use within your work. How does this emphasise your work aesthetically and conceptually? And would you say you are responding to the current economical climate?

EG: There certainly is something to be said in terms of responding to the economic climate, albeit, unconsciously, as by reusing discarded material, there is no doubt one is saving on material and money; imperative for every impoverished artist. 

However, truth be told, this is not the only reason I use discarded material. It is simply because my work relies heavily on memory and abandoned spaces and objects. I consider it to be a very poignant statement that by including someone else’s marks and memories, within my own work, I can literally build on someone else’s abandoned thoughts. Re-using someone else’s half finished statements to complete my own in whole. I find this profoundly exciting!

CP: And finally, have you got any upcoming projects or news to reveal?

EG:  Yeah, this time next year I’ll be in Hollywood!!!

Thank you Chantelle!

CP: Thank you Enver!

For more informfation on exhibitions click here

1 comment:

  1. I remember this view I saw that place painting is amazing