1988-89 Sod Swap – David Nash
1971 Calendar – Allan Kaprow
Scottish National Portrait Gallery including the John Byrne portraits and then the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art for more of Generation. Didn’t see all of it but Charles Avery’s drawings, Graham Fagen’s student flat as set, Lucy McKenzie, and of course Douglas Gordon’s 24 Hour Psycho, all reward attention.
Katie Paterson at the Ingleby Gallery – I saw the Fossil Necklace at the Wellcome earlier this year. I was interested and happy to see more provocative work particularly in relation to time and movement through space.
Beautiful aphoristic/absurd statements cast in silver on the walls seem to be ideas of which no other form can exist.
The History of Darkness was also stunning when held up to the window with the Edinburgh skyline behind – Edinburgh seen through the black of deep space many light years in the distance/past.
And all the letters death notifying the death of stars posted to somebody in west London over a year – affecting and conceptual art.
Alison Watt at Perth Museum and Art Gallery. The two rooms contain works from art school (Glasgow in the 80s) to 2014. The most recent piece has an almost photographic tonality and gloss to it. The interpretation is good, drawing out the renaissance (Titian), neoclassical (Ingres) and modern (Fontana) reference points.
We had the privilege of being base camp for Tom Boland and his support team as he did his 5th ultramarathon – running the West Highland Way – if you’re interested he’s written about it,
“Let me embrace thee, sour adversity, for wise men say it is the wisest course.” – William Shakespeare
22h29m, 47th Place
It’s a question that most people inevitably ask when they find out that I run Ultras.
Continue reading here, 2014 West Highland Way Race Report.
Jim Lambie’s exhibition at the Fruitmarket, part of Generation, includes classic work Zobop (the floor) and Shaved Ice (the mirror ladders). I think I recognised both Rainbow Rising and Deep Purple in Rock in Stakka (the albums gaffer taped together with the images taped out leaving only the background colours visible). By chance I saw Zobop in Transmission in 1999. It’s still a great piece of work, drawing attention to the smallest details in the space in which it’s installed. It’s definitely sculpture, but it could be painting too.
Originally posted on scottishsculptureworkshop:
Somewhere in the picture above is Eden, SSW’s Senior Technician, as he participates in “Master and Acolyte” a collaborative performance pour by artists George Beasley and Matt Toole at the 7th International Iron conference held in Pedvale, Latvia last week.
Emerging unscathed from the experience Eden was quick to thank the SSW board for supporting his attendance at the conference, Aldaris, the manufacturers of super quality Latvian Lager, and the Federation of Latvian Potato Growers for providing the mainstay of his diet whilst over there.
An older man with shoulder length grey hair wearing a bad suit sits behind a battered office desk. Someone appears from off screen left and puts a watch on the desk in front of him. The man picks up the stone on the desk and hits the watch repeatedly until it breaks. At one point he shifts his grip from one handed to two handed enabling him to hit the watch more accurately. When the mangled watch eventually spins off the desk he reaches down, opens the drawer of the desk and pulls out a stamp pad and date stamp. He then pulls out a pad of paper. He date stamps the paper, pulls a pen out of his pocket, signs the paper and hands it to the person who put the watch on the table in the first place. They have been standing looking into the corner of the room (as if instructed so that their photo can be taken by a security system. They didn’t watch their watch being destroyed). They leave. Meanwhile the man behind the desk rapidly puts the pen back in his pocket and the stamp pad and date stamp away in the drawer. He assumes his former position. Another person steps forward, this time with a dust buster. It’s hard to break a dustbuster with a stone, but the procedure is repeated. The dustbuster is beaten with the stone until it spins of the desk. The stamped and signed paper is handed over. Slowly the area surrounding the official becomes littered with the remains of things brought to him for processing.
Jimmie Durham’s Traces and Shiny Evidence, currently at the Parasol Unit, is one of the most powerful groups of work you’re likely to see. The video work described above is entitled Smashing and was made in 2004.
The whole ground floor is an installation that, for me, answers the question, what would be the form of a contemporary ‘political garden’? Gardening can be a political act. It has been in the case of other artists such as Ian Hamilton Finlay, and was for some in the pre-American and French revolutionary period. This garden (albeit actually an installation in a gallery with no living things included) takes its cue, according to Durham, from an observation by the writer and philosopher Walter Benjamin, “that the rainbow colours in a thin film of oil on a puddle of rainwater are the best sign of modern times.”
Plastic pipes in bright colours span the room connecting oil barrels which have been gone through a ‘respray’ process with that particular sort of paint used on cars modified by boy racers that changes colour depending on where you are standing. Thick puddles of automotive paint spill out of the barrels and puddle on the ground. Other parts of cars (bonnets from Renaults, boot lids from Audis) lie scattered around. Skeletons of animals and birds are trapped in the spilt paint, or lie in corners having been repainted in rainbow colours.
You could accuse Jimmie Durham of being didactic. You’d be hard pressed to interpret these works as anything other than an indictment of our fossil fuel and consumer culture.
The third work that makes up the exhibition is much more ephemeral and strangely beautiful. Large sheets of white paper cover the upper gallery walls. They are loosely patterned with charcoal ‘drawings.’ These have an extraordinary three dimensionality and character. You can make out everything from small mice to large bears, all curiously beautiful and at once precise. If you watch the ‘film of the show’ in the foyer, you realise these have been made by taking children’s soft toys, shaking them in a bag of charcoal dust, and them throwing them at the paper. In the context of the other works, these shadows take on a resonance with the shadows left on walls after the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima.
The two other speakers at the London LASER took us on a tour of the edge of two different human experiences.
Los Ferronautas, who are currently working with Arts Catalyst, took us on a journey of exploration of the railroads of Mexico, largely abandoned post the neoliberal-driven privatisation in the mid 90s. An extensive passenger network now lies in ruins because it was not ‘financially viable’. It only provided a means for Mexicans to get around their large and mountainous country. Somehow you know that the automotive industry had something to do with this. Los Ferronautas built a hybrid vehicle (SEFT1), an “abandoned railway exploration probe” that could travel on road and rail, and used this to explore what remains of the network. They found that it also acted as a “transmitter of stories.” In parallel they explored the visual representation of the network including early 20th Century paintings celebrating the engineering (initially exported from Britain and Ireland).
Cristina Miranda de Almeida took us on a journey around our increasing hybridity as the internet of things emerges. She explored the emerging interval space between ‘here and there’, ‘you and me’, the past, present and future, different scales and durations. She started with the beautiful analogy of data emerging from under water (behind a screen) to become part of our everyday lives, quoting Manuel Castells saying that soon computing will be paint on the walls.
For me the real moment of joy was when she show an image of a CAD rendering of a building entitled ‘spam architecture.’ As I’m sure we all have, I’ve notices the ‘flows’ of subject lines in my spam folder and wondered what could be done by exploring the patterns that lie in amongst this waste material. The way Alex Dragulescu has worked with this aspect of ‘big data,’ turning it into a proposal for architecture, put a big smile on my face.
We also had a good, if too short, discussion on multi-, inter- and trans-disciplinarity which I found really helpful in pushing my thinking further, so thanks to those who asked really good questions. My presentation is below. Thanks again to Heather Barnett for putting the programme together and continuing to make the London LASERs well worth the trip.