TOM DUNCAN

1939 | SCOTLAND/USA

“I was born in Scotland at the start of World War II; growing up I wasn’t aware that anything was wrong. If I had been born in peacetime maybe I would have noticed a difference. When I went to school my history lessons just confirmed that war was a natural phenomenon. My family situation was not a happy one, so I didn’t feel safe in the house, and I couldn’t play outside with German planes flying and bombing. I did my art because it was a safe place.”

“Sono nato in Scozia all’inizio della Seconda Guerra Mondiale; crescendo non ero consapevole del fatto che qualcosa non andava. Se fossi nato in tempo di pace forse avrei notato una differenza. Quando andavo a scuola le mie lezioni di storia spiegavano che la guerra era un fenomeno naturale. La mia situazione familiare non era felice, quindi non mi sono mai sentito al sicuro in casa e non ho mai potuto giocare fuori a causa degli aerei tedeschi e dei bombardamenti. Ho creato la mia arte, perché quella era un posto sicuro.”

Dedicated to Coney Island, 2002
Dedicated to Coney Island, 2002
Details of Dedicated to Coney Island, 2002
Details of Dedicated to Coney Island, 2002

Tom Duncan was born in Shotts, Scotland, at the beginning of the Second World War. He spent his early years believing war was natural state of the world. Given clay to model with as a child, Duncan spent much of his time making art in the bomb shelters with his family.
After the war, Duncan and his family left Scotland for Coney Island and New York City. The experience of leaving his homeland combined with a boyhood spent experiencing the horrors of wartime provided the central inspiration for Duncan’s art, which blends toy and tragedy, such as small figurines of boys with gas masks. Many of the works are encased in dusty boxes, often with a glass-fronted frame, openly presenting his expression of painful past memories and wartime brutality.
Other work is more upbeat, remembering icons of pop culture and the fairground of Coney Island.

Tom Duncan è nato a Shotts, in Scozia, all’inizio della Seconda Guerra Mondiale. Ha trascorso i suoi primi anni credendo che la guerra fosse uno stato naturale del mondo. Prendendo dell’argilla, incominciò a modellare figure sin da piccolo; Duncan ha trascorso molto tempo a creare arte con la sua famiglia nei rifugi antibombardamento.
Dopo la guerra, Duncan e la sua famiglia lasciarono la Scozia per vivere a Coney Island e New York. La lontananza dalla patria e la fanciullezza passata tra gli orrori della guerra, sono stati l’ispirazione principale per l’arte di Duncan, che spesso fonde il gioco e la tragedia: un esempio sono le piccole figurine di ragazzi con le maschere antigas. Molte delle opere sono racchiuse in polverose scatole di vetro, lasciando così visibili i dolorosi ricordi e la brutalità della guerra.
Altri lavori più ottimisti ricordano le icone della cultura pop e la fiera di Coney Island.

Portrait of Tom with a migrane headache, 2014 (non-headache side and headache side)
Portrait of Tom with a migrane headache, 2014
(non-headache side and headache side)

Portrait of Tom with a migrane headache, 2014
Portrait of Tom with a migrane headache, 2014

http://www.edlingallery.com/