Edinburgh International Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh Having a major exhibition of contemporary art in Edinburgh outside the confines of the summer Festival was a good idea. Using the Royal Scottish Academy bang in the middle of busy Christmas shopping Princes Street was also a good idea. But somewhere along the organisational way. the vision of creating what the publicity material rather presumptuously calls ‘a blockbuster' got tangled up in theories that the adminstrators could not get round. The question they asked was ‘what do the mostthinking artists today . . . make of the classical tradition?'. But post-modernism. a tag still in the process of art historical definition, and its relation to classicism, has them beatforany answers. Douglas Hall sums it up in his introduction, ‘It turned out that only a minority of the artists in the Edinburgh International refer explicitly to classical styles, subjects or images.‘

So it became Reason and Emotion in Contemporary Art.

By then the original idea was

unstuck. At the best of times, deciding on a theme and finding artists to fit is not easy. Fortunately, the best of artists do not fall into themes readily enough to make spectacular juxtaposition easy and with the best possible intentions, the resulting title of this exhibition ends up covering everything and therefore has no courage. How could a theme with the potential for casting a net round the whole world of artists possibly result in a coherent statement or even visual experience? How could this exhibition possibly live up to its promise to ‘rock the pillars of the art establishment‘ (also used in the advertising) when its very existence was breathed from the administrative establishment of the Scottish Arts Council. who have invested a lot of money and effort in this show.

Certainly there are aspects which should satisfy. Cy Twombly‘s automatic writings, doodles in frames. look across to Richard Deacon‘s ordered, almost mathematic drawings. Conscious versus unconscious. It is a wonder to see that contrast communicating across such a wide

1111301 moi mum

Mon Sat

University of Edinburgh, Old College, South Bridge. Tel: 031 6671011 ex14308

9 lanuary 6 February

FORMS IN LIGHT Sculpture and Photography


10am 5pm Admission Free

8 The List 8 2l January 1988


But the rooms at the back feel unimpressive, the artists subdued. Tony Cragg’s rusty objects seem just that and Andreas Shultz‘s puizled birds are really lost.

Sol LeWitt dominates the central room, despite sharing with the spooky James Lee Byars‘ Figure of Death, 3 tall. heavy basalt column. Where it is solid, Lewitt‘s giant coloured shapes float in space. There is a touch of infinity in this room. A feeling of 2001. Size undoubtedly helps both works clamber out of the rest of the exhibition.

Though seventeen artists have contributed, the exhibition seems thin. Where Stephen McKenna‘s stylish paintings could have mirrored a courtyard. the blank wall makes the room feel empty and unfinished.

Odds on whether there will be another Edinburgh International would be interesting to calculate. ft is a great pitythatthis opportunity for international art to touch down in Edinburgh on a regular basis seems to have got off to such a frustrating and confusing start. (Alice Bain)

The Photographic Postcard limit 9 Jan. The photographic postcard ltltlfL‘l‘Bll. In 1014. an incredible 880 million postcards went through the post. Seaside yiews. famin album shots and historical ey ents all take their place in this delightful exhibition.

California: Women in Photography In

.lan l3 I-‘eb. Work by ten women photographers living and working in (alifornia.

I TALBOT RICE ART CENTRE ( )ld College. l'niyersityol Iidinburgh. (if)? 101 1 ext 4.‘stl.\'.f\1on—Sat. Illam 5pm. Sun

2pm 5pm.

Stephen Lawson 0 .Ian n t-‘ch. Best known for his photographic collages which piece together a land or city scape from indiyidual shots taken at measured intervals oycr a whole day . Lawson in this exhibition also show s sculpture made some time ago in America. The work has been shipped back specially for this


Artists in Residence Glyn Banks and Hannah Vowles who work under the namt ‘Art in Ruins‘ will be working at the university until spring. They can be contacted through the Talbot Rice. Edinburgh Intematlonal: A One-Day Symposium Fri 29 Jan. See Royal Scottish Academy for details.

I TORRANCE GALLERY 2% Dundas Street. 556 (1366. Mon—Fri l lam—(1pm; Sat 10.30am—4pm.

Aidan Bremner 1 1—23 Ian. Watercolours and sculpture.

I 369 GALLERY 209 Cowgate. 225 3013. Mon—Sat Noon-5.30pm.

New Talent 9—3()Jan. Work by Gillian Farmer. Margaret Hunter. Alistair Wallace. and Callum Innes the Scottish Arts Council's artist-in-residencc in Amsterdam.

I WARE ON EARTH 15 Howe Street. 558 1276. Mon—Fri 10am—(1pm: Sat 10am—4pm; Sundays by appointment.

I W.A.S.P.S. GALLERY Patriothall. Ilamilton Place (near'l'heatre Workshop)'I‘ue—Sun l2.30—5.30pm. Karen Forbes 8—2312m. An installation by this WASI’S artist.


I This section lists exhibitions of special note held outside Glasgow and Edinburgh. Galleries should contact Alice Bain with information at least two weeks priorto pubhcahon.

I ABERDEEN ART GALLERY Schoolhill. (0224) (146333. Mon-Sat lllam-‘Sprnfiun 2—5pm.

50 Years olthe Dandy and Beano Until 16 Jan. Desperate Dan. Dennis the Menace. Korky the (‘at and the Bash Street Kids we love them all. This golden jubilee is celebrated with a selection oforiginal artwork never seen before.

I SEAGATE GALLERY 36—40 Seagate. Dundee. 0382 26331.

Members Show L'ntil l I Jan. A mixcdshow of prints by members of the printmakers workshop based here.

Beth Fisher 23 Jan— I (1 Feb. The large drawings seen last year at Third Iiye Centre.

I CRAWFORD CENTRE FOR THE ARTS 93 North Street. St Andrews. Fife 0334 7616].

Memory and Imagination 8 Jan—~7 l-‘eb. 'I‘he sister show to the Iidinburgh International now playing at the Royal Scottish Academy. Work on paper by seycn ofthe nineteen artists participating in Iidinburgh brings European and American artists. little seen in this country. to some of Scotland‘s liyliest smaller scale yenues.


369 Gallery exhibits their pick of the popstor the future. Pity about the title (New Talent) of the exhibition but the work (from Margaret Hunter. Gillian Farmer. Alistair Wallace and Callum lnnes) promises to be fresh.