In in mass and feeling, Nevine Mahmoud (b. 1988, London), presents four sculptures: Cottage door, Tricycle (bone), Romantic shutters and fawn (she). In these new works, materials are simplified, concentrated and intensified. Mahmoud replaces the physical familiarity of certain recognisable objects with a surface texture and density that contradicts: hollow plastic becomes solid, soft skin becomes cold and hard.
Building on an established visual language, the artist examines the forms of children’s toys in three works with an uncharacteristically representational approach. In place of an inquiry rooted in manipulation and distortion, this strategy exposes their specificity. Raised onto monolithic, sterilising aluminium plinths and carved into marble or cast in resin, Mahmoud relocates her renderings of Little Tikes toys in a tension between associations of cheap plastic, nostalgia and the classical permanence of stone. As if spectres of a childhood fantasy, a pair of shutters, an opening door and a deconstructed tricycle sit alienated atop their distanced pedestals, like an abandoned castle protruding from the edge of a cliffside.
In their isolation, these works lack protagonists, their only sentient company non-human: a tender fawn-like creature with giant ears, assembled from separate parts in order to imply a manufactured origin. Each of these works exists as a simulation, a non-real. For Mahmoud, the fawn embodies a feminine archetype that represents elegance and fragility, attracting not just admiration but ideal-isation. By figuring a strange premature female, the fawn is arresting but inherently vulnerable. Pale, exposed and begging for observation, while sitting cautiously on a lonely stage, her pink hollowed ears indicate a conscious awareness and make evident a desire to hear, to communicate. In their uncanniness, in mass and feeling presents a group of false idols: each sculpture an implant, a warped, undetermined version of beauty, sombre in its misperceived innocence.