Sarah Knox checks out two exhibitions at Glasgow Print Studio and the Fruitmarket Gallery. Edinburgh. as part ofthe current festival celebrating Icelandic 5 culture, and talks to six of j the artists about ‘Breaking the lce’. The exhibition of Svava l Bjornsdottir‘s nameless paper ; sculptures at Glasgow Print Studio j disarnis the viewer. I Ier vast pulp [ forms look heavy and yet sit unsupported on the walls. their rich . colours uneven like raw silk. with shapes ofpure abstract beauty. ‘What I like about working with g paperis its impermanencc.‘ says i Bjornsdottir. ‘I don't know ifit will survive. but that‘s not important. it's 3 the material I love to work.’ She discovered this unconventional j means of sculpting through a chance i i i
encounter with a Leith-born sculptor. ‘I had studied art, but remained unsure of myselfas an artist. then in 83. l’aolozzi brought his paper workshop to Munich and I went to work there. Although he was a macho. self-centred personality. he; did open my eyes to the potential of paper. and I owe much to him.‘
‘My work is manual .‘ she says pointing to the irony ofshowing her work in a spotless gallery and being interviewed in her chic linen suit. ‘I sketch. then cut out shapes in polystyrene. From these. I take plaster moulds which. once dry. are heavy.‘ Miming. she describes pulp
Portrait ol the artist Helnghorgils Fridibnsson by Svala Slouﬂellsdottlr
mixing in a vat, and days spent pressing pulp into moulds. The paper can take a week to dry before pigment is applied.
The Fruitmarket‘s new director Graeme Murray has the enviable task ofsclecting contemporary Scottish art for a reciprocal exhibition at Reykjavik Art Museum in February 93. Meanwhile his gallery‘s ground ﬂoor is peopled by Brynhildur Thorgeirsdottir‘s sculptures. Half-animal. half-human. Thorgeirsdottir describes her work as being theatrical. ‘I create a dangerous female form. leave space.‘ she says. ‘and place a smooth. masculine being to confront her.‘ Her craftsmanship matches the psychological power of the works; concrete is textured. and glass hats crown manes of horse hair.
Hulda Hakon joins Thorgeirsdottir and Bjornsdottir at the farm studios to make moulds. Like Thorgeirsdottir. a dark humour permeates the world of Hakon's reliefs. 'I begin with a title.‘ she says. ‘and although Icelanders will identify the sagas. the viewer can interpret the work as they wish. Iceland is an insular society and my work challenges it.‘ In [Too/ting to the Sky. lines of anonymous figurines revolve in a grey void. and in Jun
; ()skar Beneath a Star/it Sky. two 3 thirds ofthe painting is skydrowning
an isolated figure.
Jon Oskar is not a saga hero, but one of the artists represented in this show. Paradoxically. his monochromatic paintings depict cult heroes whose enlarged heads fill metres ofcanvas. Reminiscent of Warhol‘s Marilyns, Oskar wages war on the heroes by applying resistant oils to a waxed surface. Although the pictorial plane reverberates. these faces are remote and oppressive.
Escape upstairs to enjoy Helgi Thorgils Friojonsson’s arcadian visions. His canvases are symbolic. ‘Naked boys represent innocence.’ he says. ‘the fruits suggest paradise, the jugs— fountains oflife. and the surreal backdrop is Iceland.‘ His work is naive and takes its inspiration from folklore.
‘It was studying in the blitz conditions of Brooklyn which distanced me from Iceland.‘ says Svala Sigurleifsdottir in contrast. ‘and my work now explores boundaries between culture and nature.‘ The results are hand-painted photographs such as Momento Mori. in which a damaged Egyptian image is juxtaposed against a river gushing through barbed wire. Figura-Figura: Six Icelandic A rtists, Fruitmarket Gallery. Edinburgh. until 4July.
Svava Bjornsdottir Paper Sculpture. Glasgow Print Studio. until271une.
:- Cautionary tales %
The arrival at Nursery Rhymes at Kelvlngrove brings to Scotland the best-known work at one ol Britain’s most unusual artists. Rego is ! Portuguese — but studied in London and i settled there in 1976 — and it was while learning to speak English that she llrst f encounteredthelamlliarnonsensical : rhymes that inspire this collection at ' prints. She is not the first artist to concern hersell with childhood’s 1 sinister lace and the dittles that we take so much lor granted as to torgettheir macabre associations. In lact she admits the inlluence ol18th and 19th century British cartoonists, as well as Goya’s leartul caprichos and the
Little Miss Mullet, 1989
Surrealists, particularly Max Ernst. Unlike Goya’s nightmarish visions, Bego’s prints attract while they disturb.
Her game is to play with the idea ol innocence, ot sexuality and at power by distorting the dimensions other subjects. In Polly Put The Kettle 0n, the two maids tower, like overwhelming
matriarchs, over the soldiers they are serving. A huge spider, with a man’s
: lace, creeps up behind Little Miss
Mullet, and James Herbert would be proud ot the Three Blind Mice. Just alter her appointment as
Artist-ln-Resldence at the National
Gallery in London, Bego discussed her interest in lemale eroticism and power
with the novelist- and nursery rhyme j specialist- Marina Warner, and traced 3 some at her inspiration back to a young
girl she once saw in a Portuguese lalrground. ‘She was only about ten, she was peroxide blonde, had a perm, wore grown up clothes and she was helping her latherwith his puppet theatre. The image at this girl has stayed in my mind ever since: she comes into my pictures, every picturel do I think other, she was so grown up and yet she was only ten.‘ (Miranda France)
Nursery Rhymes is at the Art Gallery and Museum. Kelvingrove, until 2 Aug.
Exhibitions are listed by city. then alphabetically by venue. Shows will be listed. provided that details reach our olllses at least ten days before publication. Art and Exhibitions llstlngs complied by Miranda France.
I ART EXPOSURE GALLERY 53 West Regent Street, 332 0808. Mon-Sat lOam—Spm.
Women with Attitude Throughout Jun. The gallery‘s third annual exhibition includes works on paper by Judith I. Bridgland, Flora Wood, and Alison Chisholm.
I ART GALLERY S MUSEUM, KELVINGROVE 357 3929. Mon—Sat 10am—5pm; Sun 11am—5pm. Cafe. [D] Voluntary guides are available free of charge to conduct parties or individuals round the main galleries. Ask at the enquiry desk.
Paula Bego: Nursery Rhymes Until 2 Aug. One of the most interesting contemporary artists working in Britain, Rego is especially well known for this series of sinister reworkings on traditional nursery rhymes.
Stolen Glances Until 12 Jul. Witty and provocative photographs taken by North American and British lesbians. By its very existence the show challenges recent legislation on sexuality and censorship. Jock McFadyen: Fragments from Berlin Until Sun 21 Jun. Paintings, gouaches and sculptures created by the artist as part of his brief, from the Imperial War Museum. to work in Berlin shortly after the dismantling of the wall.
Humour trom Shell Wed 1 Jul—31 Aug. A selection of witty motoring ads, 1920—1960.
I BARCLAY LENNIE FINE ART 203 Bath Street, 226 5413. Mon—Fri 10am—5pm; Sat 103m- 1 pm.
The Jessie M. King Archive Background information on all aspects of this endurineg popular Glasgow artist (1875—1949).
I OURRELL COLLECTION Pollokshaws Road, 649 7151. Mon—Sat 10am—5pm; Sun 11am—5pm. Cafe. [D]
The collection of Edwardian tycoon William Burrell, including furniture, paintings, ceramics and glass, housed in an elegant purpose-built gallery.
I CENTRE FOR CONTEMPORARY ARTS
' 346-354 Sauchiehall Street, 332 0522.
Tue-Sat Ham—5.30pm. [D].
Salon Glasgow Sat 20 Jun-13 Jul. The gallery walls and ﬂoors are marked upinto squares in this unusual open submission for which works had to conform to a speciﬁed size.
I CENTRE FOR DEVELOPMENTAL ARTS 18 Albion Street. Daily lOam—Spm.
Wild Cherries: A Festival at Women’sArt Until Fri 19 Jun. A multi-media, ‘children-friendly’ event organised by Recco Mecco and including an information area on women's issues.
I COLLINS GALLERY University of Strathclyde. 22 Richmond Street, 552 4400 ext 2682. Mon—Fri IOam—Spm; Sat noon—4pm. [D]
Joeltarl Lee: Photography from Castlemllit Until 8 Jul. Photographs and videos, challenging Castlemilk‘s image as a place of deprivation, created by locals under the supervision of a Photographer in Residence.
I COMPASS GALLERY 178 West Regent Street, 221 6370. Mon—Sat lOam—5.30pm. Kenneth Hunter: Nyperboreans Until Thurs 25 Jun. Sculpted busts in concrete. wax and paint, inspired by a classical era. but thoroughly ‘modern‘ in their expressions.
The List 19June—2Ttiiy 1992 51