Jim Buckley with sculpture

Jim Buckley: Illuminations, The Collective Gallery, Edinburgh.

A great steel wall dominates the gallery space at The Collective Gallery. It is made up of uniform panels, riveted into place on a dark framework, and reaches from floorto ceiling. Its flatness is broken with an an outward curve, as if masking a great pillar or pipes. 80 the wall is not simply a barrier, if is a container, it has a function and something rests behind it.

Then you realise its creator has offered you peepholes, revealing what is within. But these turn out to be tricks. One shows four windows and a view beyond, exactlythose to your left in fact. It is a photograph of the room you stand in. In trying to discover something new we are merely given a different view of what is already familiarto us.

The other sculptures are metal boxes held together by pop rivets, each with theirown peephole, the view within illuminated at the push of a button. The catalogue rightly refers to the Tardis,

‘larger inside than out‘. The boxes, like the steel wall, are exercises in deceit, illusions ratherthan illuminations. We know the beauty and space they contain can not exist.

Jim Buckley‘s authoritarian shapes and lying view-finders carry the implicitstatementabouthow governments mask so much from their citizens. The way information was spoon-fed to a grateful media by both sides during the GulfWarmakesthe exhibition especially pertinent. Butthe sculptures are in a terrible way also very beautiful. Arguably, expressions of power, in this case of the creator overthe spectator, generally are (think of Hemingway’s bull fight, the Taj Mahal, Glasgow Sheriff Court). At least in this case the spectator can escape the gallery, leaving behind those intricate hunks of metal to amuse themselves. (Thomas Quinn) Illuminations is atthe Collective Gallery, 166 High Street, Edinburgh, until Sat30 Mar.

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The—List 227March 4 April 1991 55