MuchLoved @ Over the Influence

Exhibition: MuchLoved

Space: Over the Influence (1/F)

Artist: Mark Nixon

Exhibition Period: 29 May - 2 July 2020

Over the Influence Hong Kong is to present Mark Nixon’s solo exhibition, featuring 14 selected photographs from the series includes the famed teddy from “Mr. Bean”, each photograph is accompanied by a descriptive paragraph sharing the story of the stuffed animal and their owner.

“When everything was unknown, they were there.

Where anything could happen, they were there.

These repositories of hugs, of fears, of hopes, of tears, of snots and smears.

Alone at night, they were the comforters, when monsters lurked in darkened corners, when raised voices muffled through floors and walls.

These silent witnesses, these constant companions, defenders of innocence.

Their touch, yes but their smell, that instantly calming, all embalming musk, unique to each, soothing and smoothing the journey from consciousness to un, from purity to im, from infancy to adult-terre.

Sworn to secrecy, unconditionally there, unjudgementally fair and almost always a bear.”

Mark Nixon

[Extract from press release]

Ted (24) 9"

Belongs to: Helen Lyons

Ted was given to my Mum just before I was born. He started out as a bright pink teddy with a blue star on his chest. Through the years he has lost eyes, limbs & stuffing, however Ted is still very loved and cherished.

When I was young my granny would make constant repairs to his neck and arms and gave me a small angel pin to attach to him for my communion which has stayed on his chest ever since. I had a habit of rubbing his eyes with my finger as a comfort as they were made of glass and always cold. His nose has disappeared into his face as I had a particular way of holding him which also means the fur is missing in distinct patches on the back of his head

Beary (6) Height 12"

Belongs to: Tom O'Connor Jr

Sinead Keogh writes; Tom turned 6 in September. He got the teddy as a gift from a friend of mine when he was born and he calls the teddy "Beary" and he goes everywhere with him. I always know when Tom is tired as I hear him running upstairs to get Beary off his bed for a cuddle.

The Ted Family- Baby (Left in picture)

Age (31) Height 6.5"

Belongs to: Siobhan Ryan

The Ted Family were purchased from the old Post Office in Templeouge (Dublin).

Not very expensive bear, I'm told worth their weight in gold, for they truely were my constant companions.

In their prime, their little torso's were cloaked in bright blue gingham cloth. Now visibly threadbare, they are pieced together with old bandages and fabric swatches.

These days they no longer follow me everywhere, but instead have pride of place in the pink bedroom, back home in their original den.

Checky (32) 14" (Right in picture)

Belongs to: Sarah Duffy

Checky spent his youth half naked. Now that he is old and sensible he wears his clothes to stop him from falling apart. he now sleeps with Sarah's daughter Oliver.

Greg's Bear (age unknown) Height 4"

Belongs to: Bono & Ali Hewson

This little bear is a memory of one of the most incredible men in my life. Greg Carroll became a great friend of myself and Bono in the early 80s. He died at the age of 26 in a motor accident in Dublin in 1986, and he left a giant hole in our lives. Greg was a Maori, and at his tangi a mate of his handed us this one eared teddy bear. It was Greg’s, and it has been with us ever since… a fragment of Greg’s reality gone but never forgotten.

U2’s “One Tree Hill” was written for Greg and all the great men and women whose river reaches the sea too quickly. Greg’s teddy smiles when his good ear hears it played.

Ali Hewson

Patsy (7) Height 8.5"

Belongs to Tom McLoughlin

Belongs to Toms son, also Tom, who has had him all his life. Has been stitched back together countless times.

Tom had to leave early from a family holiday in Waterford and on arriving back in Dublin received a phone call asking if he had Patsy?

Sure enough, there was Patsy sitting in the back sear. Tom had to turn round and drive all the way back to Waterford so his son wouldn't miss his teddy.

Daddy Bunny (7.5) Height 14"

Belongs to: Zoe Bracken

Zoe has 3 teddies. Mummy Bunny, Daddy Bunny and Nanny Bunny. They all have to go on holiday and travel in their own suitcase. Zoe has to sleep on the edge of her bed with all three, because they need their space.

Teddy (77) Height 19"

Belongs to: Ken Nixon and Calum Nixon

This teddy was given to my father on his first birthday in 1935. His mother Eva, my granny, made the clothes for Teddy.

My Father, in his cot, used to love standing on Teddy's chest to make him growl. When he was seven, he gave Teddy to his little sister Nola as a present when she was born. Nola is the family historian and she has kept a lot of family papers, photos, and bits and pieces. She gave Teddy to my son Calum a couple years ago after my father died. It was the first time I had seen or heard anything about him.

Bobo (34) Height 12"

Belongs to: Shane Maher

Shane sent us Bobo from Tullamore by regular post after hearing Mark talk about the exhibition on the Tom Dunne Show.

Shane was 6 weeks old when Santa brought Bobo, he now sleeps with Shane's 9 year old daughter.

Shane included a letter hoping Bobo would be photogenic and asked us to take care of him.

We sent him back, registered.

Giovanni (40)

Belongs to: Maria Hurley

I knitted Giovanni in school, aged 7. Since then he has had nasal, eye and torso surgery to repair him, but is holding up well (age 40)

Pink Teddy (24) 13.5"

Belongs to Aisling Hurley

My teddy has had quite an interesting life so far. Pink Teddy was born when I was six months old, on Christmas Day 1988. He was bright pink back t

hen with a red waistcoat and we were instantly inseparable. We have only been apart for a few nights since because as much as I would love to bring him everywhere with me I would just be too terrified to bring him to a music festival! He lost his waistcoat and mouth during my childhood and then a friend of mine gave him a glitter glue necklace which has lasted for a good ten years now. He accompanied me to the Gaeltacht during my school days and he became known as Teddy Bn Dearg. (Gaeltacht is the Irish language word meaning an Irish-speaking region. Children are sent to summer school here to learn the Irish language) He also came to college with me and we spent many years living the student life in Maynooth. But it was during this time that the greatest tragedy befell Pink Teddy.

It was the week

before Christmas break and we had a huge house party on the Wednesday night. There was one particular person that we were hoping would not show up, a girl who had caused trouble at a house party around Halloween and who knew she wasn't welcome. We had an epic night and the following morning I woke up feeling very happy that the party had been such a success but also a little hungover! But what happened next is burned into my memory forever. When I got up to survey the damage to the house I saw something truly awful... Pink Teddy had been ripped limb from limb... I was in shock, horror... I knew only one person could possibly have done it and of course we had stupidly left the door unlocked with people still straggling home after we had gone to sleep. I was consumed with anger but then the tears started to flow. My housemates woke up fairly quickly when they heard me wailing and they sprang into action. Someone got me a cup of tea and a jumper and then someone carried out the delicate operation of retrieving Pink Teddy and wrapping him up in a blanket. I was distraught so I rang my mam and bawled down the phone. She reassured me that my great aunt Rosaleen could fix Pink Ted for me and said she would come and collect me on Friday afternoon. But this failed to lift my mood so my housemate Ben who is a musician decided to do something amazing to cheer me up. He went into his room for a while and when he came back out he said 'l have a surprise for you'. He sat down with his guitar and started to play the Pink Teddy song that he had just composed and I loved it so much that I started crying even more. I still listen to it from time to time but it's hard not to cry when I hear it. I know it's not a musical masterpiece but it means so much to me.

My great aunt Rosaleen managed to fix up Pink Ted and she even gave him some more stuffing because he had been getting rather skinny looking. That was nearly four years ago and he is still looking good although now his left arm is sort Of hanging on by a few threads! He has been practically everywhere with me and he even loves archaeology and heritage as much as do.

Image courtesy of Over the Influence

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