CHRIS FREMANTLE

Annandale Observer – News – 21st August 11

Posted in Exhibitions, News by chrisfremantle on August 21, 2011

Merz, Sanquhar

Models and Metaphors: David Ruston at Merz in Sanquhar, Dumfries & Galloway

Images associated with the show at the Herbert on Flickr

Get a message from Simon Beeson on Facebook that he’s headed south after his annual pilgrimage to Edinburgh.  Sorry to miss us.  He says he stopped in Sanquhar to see David Rushton’s  Merz exhibition – he provided a postcode.  David Rushton was involved in Art & Language and now lives in Edinburgh.  Curious, so on Sunday head East to Cumnock and then South East (intentionally overshooting to the Drumlanrig Cafe in Thornhill for good pizza and coffee) to Sanquhar.  Just off the main street around a corner is a smallish, previously industrial, building.  Simon had said something about lemonade.

David Rushton’s studio and exhibition space, called Merz, presumably in homage to Schwitters, is just fantastic.  It has all the mod cons including a basement studio, an attic to sleep in, a wall that swings out to reveal a kitchenette, and a toilet and shower tucked at the other end.  All of these are pushed as far to the edges of the building as possible, in Rushton’s description, to make the most space for exhibiting, perhaps 800 sq. ft. maybe less.  There is a woodburning stove at the end of the gallery next to the desk.

He has temporarily installed Models and Metaphors – a show he had in Coventry – in this space.

I haven’t wrapped my head around the work yet, except for the piece (all the works are 1/24th scale vignettes) of a fictitious Pripayat Cultural Centre with major conceptual art works installed.  This exhibition opened on 26th April 1986.  It was immediately irradiated in the Chernobyl disaster, instantly making conceptual art once again of no financial worth.

What is the importance of art?  Is its importance financial?  Rushton clearly thinks not if he imagines irradiating his own generations’ best work.  He also thinks not,  if he chooses to locate himself in Sanquhar.  But it is a brilliant place to be.  And this is a brilliant space.  And brilliant things are going to happen in it.

The only press coverage I could find was in the local paper Annandale Observer – News – 21st August 11.

Without question the most interesting things happen on the edge, in the rural, where it’s least expected.

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