Jonathan Colin talks to Calum Colvin as he prepares for his unique photography exhibition at the



Fruitmarket Gallery. Edinburgh.

Fruitful perspectives

Visitors to Market Street will have noticed that Edinburgh‘s Fruitmarket Gallery has been closed for art (though open for food) since the end ofJanuary. Jonathan Colin braved the building work to discover what the refurbished galleries have in store.

The Fruitmarket (iallery has recently undergone extensive internal refurbishment. The newly stripped and polished floors are looking stunning (I had to take my shoes off. but was reassured that future visitors won't have to follow suit! ). The most significant improvement. however. is a new space for exhibitions.

This space is to-be used in a way that will respond flexibly to projects which need less administrative planning. As the Fruitmarket has evolved. the time taken to organise exhibitions has increased some of the big exhibitions being planned two to three years in advance. It is hoped that the exhibitions in the new space can be organised more spontaneously and will be a focus for new initiatives and young talent on the contemporary (and primarily Scottish) scene. Let‘s hope that these aims are not too ambitions for a relatively small new gallery.

So where has the Fruitmarket managed to find the extra space'.’ Well. it was once the education room. separate from the main gallery upstairs. perhaps unnoticed by regular gallery visitors. The underlying philosophy now is against segregating the art work from those wishing to learn more about it through the gallery's education programme. This approach has been epitomised by the pioneering education department olthe Whitechapel (iallery in London. Education events will now take place within the galleries. allowing for new approaches to learning.

The Fruitmarket will reopen on 1-1 April with an exhibition in the tnain downstairs space by Calum ('olvin (born (ilasgow 1%] ). This is the

I, [vs , ,. ; 4,’ first major solo show by the artist in the UK. despite showing from Wisconsin to Cologne. It will consist of large cibachrome prints made during the last year. many of which have not previously been exhibited.

(‘olvin's work since the mid 1980s has consisted of photographic images of intricately assembled environments. Trashy houshold furnishings. kitsch plastic lamps and kilted action men (reminding us of the ultimate in human consumption) are piled high. ('olvin then paints over these assemblages. ignoring their perspective. juggling with illusion and space. to create images that seem logical to the camera’s lens. Strong ‘classical' and personal references persist within the sets. but kitsch forms lend them added humour.

l-‘rom 1%‘(1 onwards. (‘olvin began to divide his prints into triptychs. typical ofso many post-modernist works. raising the issues of narrative and meaning. The kilted action-man whom he has referred to as his ‘alter ego’ -- runs wild through the constructed temples of an ambiguous ancient drama. In his recent computer-generated pictures. ('olvin's aim has been to redeem the promise of a late 19th century Symbolist culture ~- of Maeterlinck and Redon to create an occult ‘theatre of the soul‘ but. crucially. under the direction ofour post-modern


The intricate images within the pictures leave the spectator with a visually seductive lead into ('olvin‘s illusory world. His often strange rise of perspective lends many of the later images a surreal quality.

Along with (‘olvin's exhibition. and in contrast to it. are two other shows in the upstairs galleries. The main one will show the photographs of the German artist Walter Dahn. .‘vlany olthesc pieces have come front a collection owned by the Museum fur den (ienwartskunst in West (iermany. The Fruitmarket has also borrowed works from the artist to augment this collection.

The ‘Prtijccts room' will show the work of the Glasgow artist IIelen Flockhart. ller small-scale pictures. usually of women. and frequently self-portraits. draw on naive. folk-art and traditional art historical forms. [Exploiting the feelings and symbols of religious art. l-‘lockhart produces quirky. sometimes sinister images which depend on parody and the subversion ol meaning to explore the nature of women’s

experience in the world. The three exhibitions together promise to make an interesting launch to the new-look galleries.

('(Ilum ('ulvin. li’aller Hahn and llc/t'n l'lur‘klltll'l will he at Edinburgh '3' Fruitmarket (ml/cry from April 14—May ll).

} Vasily moved to Edinburgh belore the revolution. but is


I ROMANIAN ART RELIEF still in close contact with The work at Romanian artist I artists, writers and

Vasily Toch is one olthe 2 intellectuals there. He's successes at the SSA come up with an imaginitive

exhibition (see review). ; way to make links with

i l l l

them. ‘Romania is nolpoor‘ he says. ‘The artists are not starving and handouts make them leel like beggars'. Vasily is organising a collection and auction in orderto raise money so that

| Romanian artists can show their work in Britain. He‘s hoping that Scottish artists will see this auction as ditterenllrom the usual auctions. in that its aim isto start a dialogue with other

artists. i ‘Romanian Art Reliel'and Artists wantingto f also sendthemtothe

participate should get work Demarco Gallery. The i

to the Demarco Gallery by auction is envisaged for mid

June; William Hardie olthe Washington Gallery will be

; the auctioneer.

30 Mayth. Anyone wanting to make a donation should make cheques payable to

The List (i 1‘) April 109051