:- Executive Iress
Last year Arthur Tress could be seen at the Portfolio Gallery, seated nonchalantly beside world heavyweight photographers Bruce Weber, Robert Frank, Irving Penn and Horst, in a photograph by Duane Michals entitled The Great Photographers Of My Time £1.
The year before, Fish Tank Sonata, a series of bizarre and often disturbing photographs by the photographer, was one of the hot tickets of the exhibition circuit during the Festival. This is no mean act to follow. Requiem For A Paperweight, his current exhibition at the Portfolio, not only follows this hardly humble background but conﬁrms his place as one of the truly great artist/photographers living and working today.
Concluding the trilogy which began with The Teapot Opera, Requiem For A Paperweight is a stunning culmination of Tress's highly personal style and iconography. This series of tryptychs is a layered and patterned meditation on the individual stuggling to enter the next millenium in the face of economic and technological adversity. The narrative features a ‘salaryman’; a faceless, overworked, overstressed account executive, and charts his journey through a standardised and depersonalised corporate landscape.
Tress’s salaryman stumbles through a series of nightmarish scenarios beginning On The Elevator, embracing along the way Swiss Bank Accounts, Wall Street Panic, Emotional Crimes, Executive Gymnastics and culminating in a towering Apocalyptic vision,The Final Reckoning. This is not laugh a
minute stuff. Redemption is on hand. however, in the shape of the familiar Tress motif of childhood memories. generalised in The Teapot Opera, but now given a deeply personal treatment. This time it is the childhood of Tress's own, of the 1940s and 1950s American golden age of expansion and technological conﬁdence. Tress digs deeply into the futuristic, Flash Gordon-style images of the time. When the power of technology was unquestioned, and he applies them to the fears of the present.
Requiem For A Paperweight derives its inspiration from computer and laser graphics and the images appear the result of some damn good electronic trickery. Yet paradoxically, the quite spectacular effects are accomplished using simple techniques similar to Balinese shadow puppet theatre. An ensemble of three dimensional props is
placed between lights covered with coloured gels and a variety of textured screens to create something like a table top theatrical display. The lurid hypo- colour, which would not be out of place at any self-respecting rave, is central to the atmosphere of calamity and flux, and forms a perfect foil to the pastoral idyll of the Fish Tank Sonata.
The Portfolio Gallery has landed a stunner of an exhibition for this year‘s Festival. Requiem For A Paperweight, while being a disturbing and often distressing vision of a world hurtling towards the next millenium, is not entirely without salvation. It is an innocence and experience parable — an incisive cautionary tale for the 905. It also looks absolutely fabulous. (Caroline Ednie)
Arthur Tress — Requiem for a Paperweight is at the Portfolio Gallery until 18 Sept. £1 (75p).
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rum-kw Boliory until in Sept.
Real Latin American Folk Crafts
16 Victoria Street & 5 The Grassmarket ' E D I N B U R G H
H A N o v r-_:_13 o F I N E O A R '1‘ S SUMMER FESTIVAL E X H I B I T I O N SCOTTISH LANDSCAPES BY Richard Alred WITH EXHIBITION BY OVER 50 Gallery Artists FROM SCOTLAND AND ABROAD GLASS CONSTRUCI'IONS: Liz Rowley Wine:
ANNE HIGGINS DESIGN
wool, silk and linen
until 28 August
Mon - Sat 113m - 5.30pm
58 George Street, Edinburgh
The List 20—26 August 1993 71