Festival Visual Art
‘Hot Dog Roll’
Feats of engineering and derring-do 0000
A man burrows his way out of the back of a black hackney cab that’s still in motion, looking like he’s tunnelled his way out of Wonderland to avoid paying his fare. The same hole-in-the—wall gang appears to have turned the brutalist facade of an office block into a revolving door cum roller-coaster ride. A crushed-up metal cube is bent back into its former aeroplane shape like a giant Airfix kit. A firework released from the back of a container ricochets through deserted warehouses before hitting home to ignite a miniature cityscape.
Such are Richard Wilson’s post-industrial construction-kit concerns, displayed in four films outlining the above interventions. Drawings of the actual actions alongside a couple of Meccano-driven
RICHARD HAMILTON: PROTEST PICTURES
Incomplete display of anti-establishment works by a British master
While this exhibition gives a flav0ur of Just how iconic the work of pioneering British pop artist Richard Williams has been. particularly in relation to the autliority-subverting subtexts at work within them. the impression upon leaving is that only fragments of a rich and Vibrant story have been told. Williams was a close contemporary of Peter Blake. Eduardo Paolo/7i and David Hockney. and designed the Beatles' White Album cover. yet these biographical facts are only
hinted at here.
The first image is 'Swnigeing London' depicting Mick Jagger and Keith Richards famous 1967 drug bust. Jagger attempts to shield his face from a photographer while cuffed to a policeman. and the same image echoes around the room as a screenprint. an etching. a pencil drawing. an oil painting. The same multiple-image. multiple-media technique is repeated throughout the decade-in-the—making triptych of “The Subject. 'The Citi/en' and "The State'. and Hamilton's recreating these iconic images of the Irish Troubles also
reappropriates the fearful consequences they represent.
As With the lQ84-style installation 'Treatment Room'. which uses Thatcher as the hub of a fiendish brainwashing machine. and the ‘Kent State' series. a group of direct-from-television news images of the titular riots in 1970. Hamilton's work uses mass media archetypes and techniques as a mirror of the times. The fact that artists of all proficieiicies have now caught up With his media awareness dilutes the effect. but the contemporary ‘Shock and Awe' a gap-toothed Tony Blair as gun-slinging cowboy — is still an amusing addition to
the canon. (David Pollock)
I Royal Botanic Gardens (/nver/e/t/i l-lousel. 248 297 I, until Sun I? Oct. Tue-
Sun l()(illl-5.30[)I7l, free.
miniatures are more film treatment archives for the main event. The only full-scale model is ‘Hot Dog Roll,’ 8 sculpted caravan which has been beaten back into star-shaped life.
The films are beautifully shot, from Wilson getting down and dirty in the taxi for ‘Meter’s Running,’ the time-lapse unfolding of the ‘plane in ‘Butterfly’ and the upside-down views of Liverpool in ‘Turning The Place Over.’ Best of all is ‘Break Neck Speed’, which, taking full advantage of its Japanese setting in much the same way as the Grey Gallery’s own ramshackle interior is used, makes for an unoccupied kamikaze Noh play. Set to a soundtrack that sees Wilson get back to his roots as founder of the Bow Gamelan Ensemble, as shots in the dark go, this one’s faster than a speeding bullet. (Neil Cooper)
I Grey Gallery 70 Old Broughton (off Barony Street) 00 44 7910 359 086. until 37 Aug, 7 lam—6pm, free.
‘Shock and Awe’
7 —14 Aug 2008 THE LIST FESTIVAL MAGAZINE 83
TRAVELS WITHOUT MY CAMERA Alexander Hamilton’s new exhibition uses ancient techniques to respond to a Scottish-set classic painting. Liz Shannon met him
lt might seem laughably low-tech in a digital age, but the camera- less cyanotype. one of the earliest and simplest forms of photography. still enthrals Edinburgh artist Alexander Hamilton. ‘lt’s just two chemicals mixed together and applied to watercolour paper. The object is placed on top of the paper, exposed to sunlight and the image is fixed by washing with water. The process is very permanent — work from the 18408 is still fresh.‘
Hamilton’s new exhibition consists of cyanotypes of plants gathered at Glenfinlas Burn, the setting for John Everett Millais’s 1853-4 portrait of the art critic John Ruskin.
‘Ruskin spent four months standing on a rock at Glenfinlas so that Millais could paint a portrait that would be a ‘manifesto' for landscape art.’ says Hamilton. ‘Millais was so busy dealing with the rocks. the plants and the water that he only managed to capture Ruskin’s outline.’
Hamilton spent some time searching for the precise spot Ruskin posed at.
‘I wanted to communicate a sense of the site - all the plants were chosen from around the rocks. I really had to hunt for it. but Millais‘ depiction of the site was incredibly accurate. Often within a landscape there's just so much information, you can be overwhelmed by the detail. Within one petal, all of nature can be contained.’
The beauty of the cyanotype for Hamilton lies in the slow. hyper—detailed process, and the utterly unique final product. unlike standard photography. where the photographer can take repeat shots.
‘You have to take the risk: you work with the plant, it will only allow you to make one image and each image is unique. You have to accept what you get. and sometimes it doesn’t work at all. But that's good. What is interesting in nature is actually imperfection, because every plant is different.‘
I Studio 77, 07800 574 651. until Sat 16 Aug, free.