VisualArt W O G S A L G
REVIEW PRINTS THE WRITING ON YOUR WALL Edinburgh Printmakers, until Sat 29 Oct ●●●●●
When Jeremy Deller put Rupert Murdoch’s walnut face on a sky-blue ‘Vote Conservative’ poster to raise funds for the Labour Party, it looked like satire. Given the ongoing phone-hacking saga, it now feels like prophecy. The ‘Murdoch Doesn’t Give A XXX’ poster opposite from 1986’s Fortress Wapping days may be dated in terms of its reference to a then novel Australian fizzy lager, but seen alongside Deller’s piece it’s an important pointer to how history repeats itself. Curated by Rob Tufnell, this group show aims to reclaim the radical
grassroots of print, when a pamphlet, a poster and a button badge were the ideologue’s weapons of choice. Such notions date all the way back to James Gillray’s early 19th-century cartoon, awash with pop-eyed society grotesques. Crucial archives from post-1968 Notting Hill provocateurs King Mob include a flyer for the famed department store Santa action, which Malcolm McLaren may or may not have been involved in. James Connolly’s magnificently named slim volume Socialism Made Easy and Christopher Logue’s post- Vietnam poem posters marry pop and protest in a way today’s largely aesthetic-free groupuscules could similarly learn much from. Alasdair Gray’s portraits of very personal defiance, Ruth Ewan’s text-based provocations and Joanne Tatham and Tom O’Sullivan’s ‘An Indirect Exchange . . . Of Uncertain Value’ series are similarly striking. A new piece by Deller shows a newspaper photo of a glum- looking quartet outside their soon-to-be-closed community centre. Dominating the room are ten prints by some-time collaborators of Mayo Thompson’s avant-rock band The Red Krayola, Art & Language. Taken from the covers of A&L publications, quasi-mock heroic images take a stand in classic socialist-realist apparel. A new piece, a framed, text-heavy paper-chain, might well be the missing link between theory and action.
Such militant tendencies are probably best personified, however, by the presence of an old-school typewriter and the sort of hand- operated vintage printer that fuelled a thousand late-night strategy meetings by clandestine cells of agitators fine-tuning manifestos to turn the world upside down. This is the means of production seized in all its inky-fingered fervour. (Neil Cooper)
E P P O K L L A D N E K D N A T S T R A E H T F O Y S E T R U O C
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REVIEW SCREENPRINTS CIARA PHILLIPS: THE ONLY RULE IS WORK Kendall Koppe, Glasgow, until Sat 29 Oct ●●●●● PREVIEW FILM ELAD LASSRY: UNTITLED (GHOST) Tramway, Glasgow, Fri 21 Oct–Sun 4 Dec
REVIEW GROUP SHOW ANNA BARHAM & BEA MCMAHON: WARP AND WOOF CCA, Glasgow, until Sat 19 Nov ●●●●●
‘The only rule is work’ is one of ten accommodating rules for students and teachers developed by artist and educator Sister Corita Kent. Ciara Phillips’ exhibition is the result of her three-month residency in the gallery space where she shared a working environment with gallery director Kendall Koppe. Considering the site-specific conditions and the gallery’s organisational structure, she developed a body of artworks to explore the theme of work within the creative industry.
In what could be seen as a comparing and contrasting of ‘work’ (something you may take ownership of?) versus ‘labour’ (something you do for someone else?), Phillips has screen printed directly onto walls, fabrics and paper – acknowledging the entire space. Included are portraits of people who regularly facilitate and produce the ideas of others, but who are often not visible in the production. It is a striking exhibition with subtle layers of inquisition. In the Sister’s words: ‘If you work it will lead to something. It’s the people who do all of the work all the time who eventually catch on to things.’ (Talitha Kotzé)
120 THE LIST 20 Oct–17 Nov 2011
Fresh from exhibiting at this year’s Venice Biennale, Elad Lassry’s characteristic conceptual layering of mainstream subjects and everyday agencies such as advertising and cinema will be on display at Tramway in his film ‘Untitled (Ghost)’. As Lassry points out, the piece developed very organically and is deceptively simple in execution, depicting ballet performers in monochrome costumes dancing in what Israeli-born Lassry describes as a haunted house-cum-stage.
‘The title refers to the photographic medium. One of the dancers in the film embodies this idea of seeing through an object, which is something that has always been in my work since early on.’ When asked if he intended to reference anything in particular when making the film he replies, ‘No, I’m not referencing the choreographers or dancers, but purely using their image.’
This eschewing of the symbolic is a key point of Lassry’s practice, especially in his compositions. ‘The stage becomes the frame, the dancers components. I see the scenes in the film as pictures in themselves. I’m constructing something new. I’m a modernist, in the most progressive sense.’ (Alistair Quietsch)
The underlying structure on which this exhibition is built is the artists’ shared interest in systems of representation of thought and reality, but specifically the mathematical background that both artists come from. Before receiving degrees in visual art, Bea McMahon studied maths in Dublin and Anna Barham studied philosophy and maths in Cambridge. In one of McMahon’s videos the recorded images –
of things that are alike but different – sway between seemingly carefully constructed and clearly accidental footage. A slinky cat plays the lead role, moving gracefully as if following the script to a tee.
While the overall tone of the exhibition is clinically stark, the most visually pleasing work in the show is ‘Iris’ wherein Barham plays with the etymology and morphology of the word. Building up a series of projected images that brainstorms its aesthetic vocabulary, we see flashes of flowers, several historical representations of Iris the goddess, shapes and colours. The mathematical universe hypothesis suggests that all structures that exist mathematically also exist physically, but what is missing here is the beauty of those structures. (Talitha Kotzé)